MUMBAI, February 25 : It was round one to Sachin Tendulkar in his contest with Shane Warne, which promises to be the focal point of the forthcoming India-Australia Test series. Sachin Tendulkar accomplished today what he failed to do in 202 first class innings spanning nearly ten years -- notch a double century. The Mumbai batting wonder's thunder at the Brabourne Stadium gave an insight to the Indian way of welcoming the team from Down Under. And riding on Tendulkar's new high of 204 not out (192b, 269m, 25x4, 2x6), the Ranji champions raced to a 105-run lead after the Australians had declared their first innings at the overnight score. Mumbai raised their stocks further when they left the vistors tottering by close of the second day's play of the three-day encounter.
While Tendulkar's brilliance underlined his reputation as a world-class batsman, at least one bowler's status in the opposite camp suffered a serious fracture. Leg-spin wizard Shane Warne's bowling figures of 16-1-111-0 provide descriptive evidence of the Mumbai batsmen's dominance.In the event, it was also a sane warning to the Australians of what lies in store for them during the Test seriesahead.
The only jarring note in Warne's career that includes 302 Test wickets has been his performance against the Indians (average 214.00). Interestingly, Warne had made his Test debut against India at Sydney (1991-92), and had ended up with figures of 45-7-150-1, with Ravi Shastri and Tendulkar notching 206 and 148 not out respectively.
The 25-year-old Tendulkar revived those harsh memories for Warne with a superlative knock. Exquisite drives and pulls that bore the Tendulkar stamp thudded into the advertisement boards with amazing regularity. For variety, he even hit a few sixes which satiated the appetite of a holiday crowd of 10,000.
Tendulkar showed scant respect for Warne. He hoisted the leggie for a big six over widish long-on for his first boundary. And when Warne returned for his second spell, he spanked him over cover to raise his 32nd hundred (90b, 120m, 15x4, 1x6) in his 136th first class appearance. He chose Warne again to cross his earlier best of 179 not out (against West Indies in theNagpur Test, 1994), slamming the bowler for a straight six.
Earlier, it was the left-handed opener Amit Pagnis (50: 60b, 80m, 9x4), who had begun the onslaught on Warne by cover driving him for three boundaries in an over.
Sanjay Manjrekar (39: 59b, 97m, 6x4, 1x5), playing his farewell match, Amol Muzumdar (42: 105b, 138m, 4x4) and Rajesh Sutar (45: 43b, 69m, 6x4, 1x6) all came up with useful contribution as the Mumbai run-machine went into top gear with Tendulkar in the driver's seat.
The most fruitful association during the Mumbai innings was between Tendulkar and Muzumdar which raised 152 runs for the fifth wicket in 32.2 overs.
Australia (1st innings): 305-8 declared
Mumbai (1st innings): Amit Pagnis c Healy b Wilson 50, Sulakshan Kulkarni c Warne b Dale 0, Sanjay Manjrekar run out 39, Sachin Tendulkar not out 204, Vinod Kambli b Robertson 10, Amol Muzumdar c Healy b Wilson 42, Rajesh Sutar c Ponting b Blewett 45;
Extras (b1, lb5, nb14): 20.
Total(for six wickets declared in 78.1 overs; 349 minutes): 410
Fall of wickets 1-10, 2-71, 2-126, 4-161, 5-313, 6-410
Bowling: Reiffel 15-1-65-0 (nb4), Dale 10-4-38-1 (nb1), Warne 16-1-111-0 (nb4), Wilson 13-0-46-2 (nb2), Robertson 15-0-96-1 (nb2), Blewett 5.1-1-23-1 (nb1), Lehmann 4-0-25-0