Sachin Tendulkar tuned up brilliantly for the upcoming Test series against Australia by hitting a record equalling 81st first-class century but couldn't prevent Mumbai from conceding first-innings lead to Rest of India on the third day of the Irani Cup match here today.
Tendulkar looked in fantastic touch as he hit a sparkling unbeaten knock of 140 off 197 balls as he touched Sunil Gavaskar's Indian record of 81 first-class hundreds. In the process, the 39-year-old also completed 25,000 runs in first-class cricket.
However, Tendulkar ran out of partners as Mumbai were all out for 409 thereby conceding a sizeable first innings lead of 117 runs. In the second essay, Rest of India were 27 for one at stumps which enhanced their lead to 144 runs and they have nine wickets in hand.
Nightwatchman S Sreesanth batting on seven is giving company to Murali Vijay, who is undefeated on 18. Opener Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed for a duck.
The day belonged to Tendulkar, who send a strong message to the Australian team about his intent, as he struck 18 boundaries and two sixes during his five hour and 43 minutes of stay at the crease. He played some shots around the wicket and none of the Rest of India bowlers barring S Sreesanth, who dug a few short ones could ask any probing questions.
Having arrived at the crease in the second over of the day, Tendulkar was hardly troubled by the Rest of India bowlers and his most productive partnership was with Ankeet Chavan (49) that yielded 103 runs for the seventh wicket.
Tendulkar also added 73 runs with the talented Ajinkya Rahane, who missed out on a deserving century as he was trapped leg before by Harbhajan Singh. The senior offie was the most successful bowler for the Rest of India grabbing three for 64 from 21 overs as he also dismissed Rohit Sharma for a duck.