Tendulkar reaches 15,000 runs for India vs WIndies

C. RAJSHEKHAR RAO - AP Sports Writer
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Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar celebrates after he completed 15,000 runs in test cricket on the third day of the first of three test match series between India and West Indies, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011. (AP Photo) INDIA OUT

NEW DELHI (AP) — Sachin Tendulkar passed 15,000 test runs as India closed in on a comfortable victory over West Indies in the first test at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium on Tuesday.

The world's leading runscorer in tests and one-dayers became the first to touch the new mark with a single off legspinner Devendra Bishoo to move to 28 on his way to 33 not out at stumps on day three. Tendulkar raised his bat and looked towards the sky on reaching the landmark and was congratulated by batting partner Rahul Dravid and the West Indies players.

The day's play finished soon after, with Dravid not out on 30, and India at 152-2 in its second innings, chasing 276 for the win with two days left.

India was in position for the win thanks mainly to offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 6-47 to help bowl out West Indies for 180 in its second innings.

Ashwin became the second most successful India bowler on debut with match figures of 9-128. Only legspinner Narendra Hirwani produced better figures, with 16-136 against West Indies at Chennai in 1988.

Ashwin's impressive haul justified the faith of the selectors, who picked him ahead of star Harbhajan Singh.

"I didn't expect any particular number of wickets, but before the test I was hoping to get a five-wicket haul," Ashwin said. "Honestly speaking, I have never got wickets on such a pitch as I need spin and bounce."

Ashwin said he had managed to remain focused even though it was his debut.

"I don't think I had that many nerves. I never thought that I'd be playing alongside so many test cricketers," he said.

The Tamil Nadu spinner held center stage as West Indies, enjoying a 95-run first-innings lead, was bowled out 72 minutes after lunch with only first-innings centurion Shivnarine Chanderpaul (47) and captain Darren Sammy (42) providing resistance.

Ashwin took the wickets of Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels in the same over in the first session.

He trapped left-hander Bravo (12) lbw and foxed Samuels four deliveries later with one that moved away slightly to take the off stump before the batsman had scored a run.

Ashwin, who accounted for opener Kieran Powell on the second day, also dismissed Chanderpaul, who made a 58-ball 47 before he was lbw.

He earned a five-for when Sammy was bowled off a delivery that kept very low. Sammy struck five fours and a straight six off pace bowler Ishant Sharma in his aggressive 37-ball cameo.

Debutant pace bowler Umesh Yadav took two wickets while Sharma and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha chipped in with one each.

Sharma got the first breakthrough of the day when he induced an edge from nightwatchman Fidel Edwards (1).

Yadav then took a fine first test wicket with a ball that came in sharply to clean bowl a well-set Kirk Edwards (33). Yadav later got Carlton Baugh (7) to edge one to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Set 276 to win, India openers Virender Sehwag (55) and Gautam Gambhir (22) made a brisk start before both were out while looking comfortable.

Left-hander Gambhir fell lbw to part-time offspinner Marlon Samuels while Sehwag inside-edged a delivery from pace bowler Sammy after smashing five fours and two sixes in his run-a-ball innings.

Sehwag, who had also scored 55 in the first innings, survived a chance on 12 when seamer Ravi Rampaul let him off his own bowling. He punished Samuels and Bishoo and was also quick to take singles.

"Sehwag and Gambhir got off to a flier but they still need another 120-odd tomorrow and it is another day and I am looking forward to that," West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said. "But I thought our batsmen could have been more positive without being reckless."

With the openers gone at 95-2, Tendulkar and Dravid came together and led India to the close. Tendulkar struck two fours during his 87-ball knock, and with 124 more runs needed by the team, he's unlikely to achieve his 100th international century this week.

"The score (276) is a good one," Gibson said. "A lot of things have happened in the morning session and hopefully we can get a few wickets and put them under pressure."

The three-test series will continue in Kolkata and Mumbai.