Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021

Sehwag Leaves Windies Dazed

The dashing opener missed out on the unique record of scoring a ton before lunch on the opening day of a Test, but his masterly 180 off 190 balls and Dravid's unbeaten 95 placed India firmly in command at 361-4.

Sehwag Leaves Windies Dazed
| AP
Sehwag Leaves Windies Dazed

A masterly century by Virender Sehwag and the steady hand of skipper Rahul Dravid combined to give India the early grip on the second Test against the West Indies on Saturday.

Sehwal played an innings of controlled aggression to slam 180 from 190 balls and gave India a blazing start while Dravid's composed 95 not out was instrumental in the visitors regaining their stride after a few minor hiccups.

At close on the opening day at the Beausejour stadium, India were healthily placed at 361 for four but will rely on their captain playing a marathon innings to consolidate their advantage.

Mohammad Kaif was on 18 at the other end.

Pedro Collins reopened a few old scars with his nagging left-arm seamers to pick all the four wickets to fall and was key to the hosts staying in the match after Sehwag had blasted them out in the morning session.

Sehwag smashed 20 fours and two sixes before falling to a return catch through a leading edge.

The right-handed opener narrowly missed out on the unique record of scoring a hundred before lunch on the opening day of a Test but his knock exposed Brian Lara's wisdom to go in with an all-out seam attack on a feather bed of a track.

It was also Sehwag's 12th century in Tests and his second against the West Indies.

Amazingly, the last eight of his three-figure knocks have been 150-plus scores, beginning with the cavalier 195 he made - also on the opening day - of the Melbourne Test against Australia in 2003-04.

The Delhi batsman put on 159 runs for the opening stand with Wasim Jaffer and added another 139 runs with Dravid for the fourth wicket.

Dravid has so far faced 158 balls and hit 12 boundaries.

Collins picked nine wickets in three Tests against the Indians on their previous visit to the Caribbean in 2002 and also set up the series-clinching Test win for his team at Kingston on that tour.

Today, he bowled the same teasing line and the Indians seemed intent on obliging him all over again.

Jaffer, double centurion in the first Test, played the supporting role to perfection before fending at an away delivery from Collins to be caught at slip for 43.

VVS Laxman, who shone in the 2002 series, flashed at a wide delivery to be out for a 10-ball duck.

Collins, who was named in the squad only because his half-brother Fidel Edwards was injured, then had his prized scalp of Sehwag by squaring up with a short delivery.

Yuvraj Singh played all over an incoming delivery to be bowled for two from 16 balls.

Sehwag took the drinks break in the morning session at 65 runs from 38 balls and looked in course to push Viv Richards' fastest century record of 56 ball off the record books.

He missed it but looked almost certain to overtake Kapil Dev and Mohammed Azharuddin as the two Indian who took the least 74 number of balls to reach a Test century.

Kapil did his act against Sri Lanka in 1986-87 while Azhar's blitzkrieg erupted against South Africa in Kolkata in 1996-97.

That being missed also, Sehwag looked as good as having joined an elite list of Victor Trumper, Charles McCartney, Donald Bradman and Majid Khan as the fifth batsmen who hit a century in the opening session of a Test match.

He needed seven from the final over before the break from Corey Collymore. He upper-cut a four, took a single and finally needed just two runs to reach the landmark off the final delivery.

Sehwag drove it to mid-off, took a quick single and kept going past the non-striker's end when a quick look back would have given him another run as the ball had gone past the stumps for an overthrow.

The right hander got his century off the third ball of the afternoon session.

It took him a mere 78 balls and was laced with 15 fours and two sixes.



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