Cape Town, Jan 04 (Agencies): Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir played a fighting knock but fell seven runs short of his century as India sailed past 200 runs for the loss of 4 wickets as they got two early jolts in the form of Delhi boy Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman at lunch third day morning at Newlands.

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is just 6 runs away from his 51st Test ton as he is playing on 94 with Cheteshwar Pujara (2) on other side of the crease.

The Delhi southpaw scored 13 boundaries and was dropped thrice during his knock but was finally caught on an individual score of 93 by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher of spinner Paul Harris to end his adamant stay on the crease.

Gambhir and Tendulkar battled fiery pace and swing bowling from South African speedsters in morning session and added crucial 176 runs for the third wicket to ease out concerns in Indian camp.

Meanwhile, run-machine Sachin Tendulkar completed his 60th half-century as India started firmly on third day morning battling the pace of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel comfortably.

With this fifty to his name, Tendulkar surpassed Rahul Dravid’s tally of highest number of Test fifties by an Indian batsman and became the second highest half-century scorer in the world, next only to Allan Border (63).

 
Tendulkar, who resumed on overnight score of 49, stroked the third ball of the morning to gully region to complete his half-century and then slapped two boundaries off Dale Steyn to put South African captain Graeme Smith’s attacking tactics on backfoot.

Gambhit too batted carefully, dispatching Morne Morkel to two edgy boundaries, but was seldom beaten outside off-stump by the lanky bowler who bowled regularly in the right areas to trouble the left-hander.

 Earlier on day two, India made 142/2 at stumps to restore the balance in the series deciding third and final cricket Test.

Gambhir slammed a fighting half-century, taking advantage of two dropped catches and repeatedly hopped and jumped to ride the bounce as he remained unbeaten on 65 when the stumps were drawn on day two.

Tendulkar, who came to crease after the fall of Rahul Dravid, batted cautiously with Gambhir as the duo added unbeaten 114 runs in 39.2 overs for the third wicket.