Tendulkar retires eight short of century
Sachin Tendulkar sacrificed a century to give his Indian teammates crucial batting time ahead of the Test series with Australia in their drawn tour match in Canberra on Friday.
Tendulkar, poised on 99 international centuries across Test and one-day matches, retired on 92 in the tourists' 320 for six on the final day of their two-day match against the Chairman's XI at Manuka Oval.
The greatest Test runscorer hammered 15 boundaries off 132 balls as India got in precious batting time ahead of the opening Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Indians' total was in reply to the Chairman's XI 398 for six declared compiled on Thursday.
V.V.S. Laxman also retired on 57 off 76 balls while Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 56 off 80 balls before bad weather intervened.
Tendulkar's last century was 111 against South Africa at the World Cup in Nagpur last March, with his last Test century coming against South Africa with 146 in in Cape Town last January.
Sharma is hoping Tendulkar can score his 100th hundred sometime in Australia on this tour.
"I think it would be a great place to do it, but the only thing I will say is me and my team-mates, all of us and all the Indians, we don't want him to wait for too long now," Sharma said.
"It's been a while, but I hope he gets the 100th century in the first game.
"It was good to see him bat like that. He was batting fluently and I hope he carries the same form in the Test series as well."
Tendulkar has scored six Test centuries in Australia and averages 58.54 in his 16 Tests Down Under.
The Chairman's XI had an early scalp when the wicket of India opener Ajinkya Rahane for three in the second over.
Gautam Gambhir (35) and captain Rahul Dravid (45) put on 71 for the second wicket before Gambhir fell in the 21st over.
Dravid was dismissed just before lunch, but Tendulkar and Laxman steadied the innings with a 133-run partnership and both retired just prior to tea.
Virat Kohli only lasted five balls before he was removed by Cameron Boyce for one shortly after tea.
Wriddhiman Saha 23 not out and Sharma added 74 before rain ended play early.
India will have another practice game against the Chairman's XI, a three-day match starting in Canberra on Monday.