Sachin Tendulkar short of 100th ton in Boxing Day Test
|First Test, Melbourne (day two):|
|Australia 333 v India 214-3|
Sachin Tendulkar is still seeking a historic 100th international century after being dismissed 27 runs short on the second day of the first Test against Australia in Melbourne.
The India batsman was bowled by Peter Siddle in the last over of the day.
Rahul Dravid was 68 not out as the tourists closed on 214-3 in reply to Australia's first-innings 333.
The 38-year-old Tendulkar, who hit 73 from 98 deliveries, has been stuck on 99 hundreds since March.
He and Dravid, the two greatest Test run-scorers of all-time, put on 117 for the third wicket - their 20th century partnership.
Worryingly for Australia, the pair were looking at their ominous best before Siddle intervened and forced nightwatchman Ishant Sharma to make an appearance.
"It's unfortunate he didn't get his hundred, but his batting performance today really put us out of pressure, we're very happy," said Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Australia wicket-keeper Brad Haddin said: "Its important that Wednesday morning we shut that scoreboard down a bit.
"If we can do that we'll create chances and give ourselves the best opportunity to get into that middle order."
Tendulkar treated the 52,858-strong crowd to a batting masterclass with top-notch stroke play which delivered some perfectly-executed boundaries.
The 'Little Master' saw off eight balls in a nervous period before tea, following Virender Sehwag's dismissal for 67 in the penultimate over of the afternoon session.
He then set the tone for his innings with the first ball of the final session, doing so in spectacular style with an outrageous six when he flicked Siddle over the slip cordon and the third-man boundary.
Tendulkar had eight fours to go with his six, and reached his 64th Test half-century with a single off Nathan Lyon that produced one of the loudest cheers of the day from a Melbourne crowd featuring a healthy portion of Indian supporters.
Siddle did find a way through when he bowled Dravid, but the delivery was adjudged to be a no-ball after umpire Marais Erasmus referred it to the third umpire.
But Tendulkar's wicket would have served as a decent consolation for Siddle, who bowled a ripping spell at the end of the day which yielded 1-7 from four overs.
Earlier, Sehwag brought up his 8,000th Test run and combined well with Dravid as they put on 75 for the second wicket.
Australia had reached 333 thanks to some handy cameos from Siddle (41), Ben Hilfenhaus (19) and James Pattinson (18 not out) after starting the day on 277-6.