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Sehwag spares India the blushes with explosive 201
by AFP


Ground:M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:V Sehwag, RS Dravid, G Gambhir
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 26th March 2005

 

Virender Sehwag yet again proved to be Pakistan's nightmare as he hammered a robust 201 to help India avoid a follow-on in the third and final Test.

 

The free-stroking opener's double-century enabled the hosts to post 379-6 at stumps on the third day in reply to Pakistan's massive first-innings total of 570.

 

Sehwag, 26, smashed two sixes and 28 fours off 262 balls in a magnificent display of stroke-making on a batting track to reduce the Pakistani bowlers and fielders to a state of helplessness.

 

Sehwag, who also scored a triple-century against Pakistan last year, became the fastest Indian to complete 3,000 Test runs during his 10th three-figure knock in 55 innings, surpassing former captain Mohammad Azharuddin (64).

 

India were in trouble here on Saturday for a brief spell when they lost in-form Rahul Dravid (22) and Sachin Tendulkar (41) in the afternoon session, still needing 114 more runs with seven wickets in hand to avoid the follow-on.

 

The hosts were just 34 short of the follow-on target of 371 when Sehwag departed, offering an easy return catch to Kaneria (3-97) two balls after completing his double-century.

 

Sehwag played a risky shot on 199 when he lofted Kaneria in the covers behind two fielders for a brace to reach his double-hundred.

 

India then lost out-of-form skipper Sourav Ganguly (one), who was stumped off Kaneria only a ball after he was dropped by Younis Khan at silly-point. He has so far made 46 in his last four innings.

 

India required 28 to make Pakistan bat again with the last five wickets in hand, but Venkatsai Laxman (51 not out) saw to it with his sensible knock that Sehwag's brilliant effort did not go waste.

 

India's total owed much of its substance to Sehwag, who put on 98 for the opening wicket with Gautam Gambhir (24), 74 for the next with Dravid, 85 for the third with Tendulkar and 80 for the fourth with Laxman.

 

Sehwag's liking for the Pakistani attack began last year at Multan, where he became the first Indian to score a Test triple-century.

 

He continued in the same vein, scoring 173 in the opening Test at Mohali and 81 in the second at Calcutta. He was again among runs, finding plenty of gaps in the field with breath-taking strokes on both sides of the wicket.

 

Sehwag, 39 overnight, gave a sharp chance when on 43 off spinner Arshad Khan but Asim Kamal fumbled with the ball at forward short-leg.

 

Pakistan had to pay dearly for their fielding lapse as Sehwag did not curb shots and reached his 150 by lofting Kaneria over long-on for the second six.

 

Pakistan did well in the second session to remove Dravid and Tendulkar, but could not put pressure on Sehwag. who continued to dominate the rival attack.

 

Dravid, who made a century in each innings of the second Test, was trapped leg-before while trying to sweep Kaneria to leave his home fans disappointed.

 

Tendulkar, seeking a world record 35th Test hundred, struggled for his first 10 runs as he survived a confident appeal for leg-before against paceman Mohammad Sami.

 

Just when it looked that Tendulkar had settled down to play a long knock, he miscued a drive off leg-spinner Shahid Afridi to be caught by Younis at point.

 

He fell five short of surpassing compatriot Sunil Gavaskar's record of 10,122 runs.

 

Sami (2-80) tested the Indian batsmen and was rewarded for his hard work when he had Gambhir caught by Younis in the slips before accounting for Dinesh Karthik.

 

Pakistan are seeking a series-levelling victory here after losing the second Test by 195 runs. The first Test in Mohali was drawn.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)



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