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UPDATE 1-Cricket-Tendulkar steadies India against Australia

(updates at tea, adds byline)

By Julian Linden

ADELAIDE, Jan 24 - Sachin Tendulkar completed an
unbeaten half-century to help steady India's nerves after
Australia knocked over their top-order on the opening day of
the fourth test at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Tendulkar defied the Australian bowlers for two hours to
reach tea on 55 with India 187 for four in their first innings
after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Vangipurappu Laxman was on 16 at tea, knowing he and
Tendulkar will need a big partnership on a typically flat
Adelaide pitch full of runs.

India were able to score at a brisk rate in the first two
sessions but the loss of four wickets was a concern after they
opted to go into the match with one less batsmen.

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson dismissed Irfan
Pathan and Rahul Dravid before lunch, Brett Lee removed
Virender Sehwag and Brad Hogg got rid of Saurav Ganguly before
tea.

Pathan was promoted to open the innings after Wasim Jaffer
was dropped to make way for spinner Harbhajan Singh, but the
strategy did not work.

Pathan was named man of the match in Perth after an
impressive all-round performance but is regarded more as a
seamer rather than a batsman, although he has scored a test
hunĂ¿dred.

He batted for more than half an hour and hit two fours but
departed on nine when Johnson found the edge and wicketkeeper
Adam Gilchrist took a routine catch.

Dravid made 18 in a 48-run partnership with Sehwag before
he also fell to a catch behind off Johnson, getting a thick
edge to Ricky Ponting at second slip.

Sehwag, who returned to the test arena for the first time
in over a year in last week's third test in Perth, struck six
boundaries in a typically dashing innings.

He raced to his half-century off just 68 balls but fell
early in the second session when he edged Lee to Matthew Hayden
at first slip.

Ganguly made only seven when he was adjudged leg before
wicket to spinner Hogg, leaving Tendulkar and Laxman to carry
on.

Both men are playing possibly their last matches in
Australia and are in great form after scoring hundreds in
Sydney.

Tendulkar hit five fours and a six in his 55 while Laxman
batted 45 minutes for his 16.

India beat Australia on their last visit to Adelaide four
seasons ago and can square the series if they win again this
time having lost in Melbourne and Sydney and won in Perth.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Martin Petty)