Second Test: Sehwag’s lone battle takes India to 329

August 1st, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Galle (Sri Lanka), Aug 1 (IANS) Virender Sehwag proved his penchant for big scores in Test matches as he hammered his fifth Test double hundred in the second Test against Sri Lanka here at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. In a game where other Indian batsmen continued to struggle, Sehwag stood tall to help India to 329 in the first innings. Sehwag made an unbeaten 201 and ran out of partners as India were bowled out for 329 in the last over before lunch.

Ajantha Mendis finished with six for 117, the first time he has taken a five wicket haul.

This is the 11th consecutive time Sehwag has converted a hundred into a score of over 150. It was also his first hundred against the Sri Lankans that he converted into an unbeaten double hundred, his fifth against them overall.

The 29-year-old right-handed batsman had nicked Ajantha Mendis earlier to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene when on 188, but umpire Billy Doctrove had turned down the appeal and the Sri Lankans could not ask for a referral as they had used up their three referrals.

Sri Lanka used their third referral when Sehwag was on 182 when a confident leg before wicket shout off Muralitharan was turned down and captain Mahela Jayawardene opted for the referral, but it came back negative after umpire Gamini Silva went through video replays.

Silva was functioning as the television referral umpire as colleague Mark Benson had to move on field after Rudi Keortzen was indisposed.

Sehwag, who had earlier taken only 87 balls for his hundred, was cautious on his way to the double hundred. Together with V.V.S. Laxman, Sehwag added 100 runs for the fifth wicket. But from thereon, wickets fell at regular intervals as none of the tail-enders managed to get to double figures and Sehwag was left fighting a lone battle.

The batsman was on 195 when last man Ishant Sharma entered the crease, but he managed to get to the milestone and ran out of partners after completing his double hundred as Sharma was ruled leg before wicket to Mendis.

There was drama as Sehwag got closer to the double hundred as he refused a single on 199 to protect the tail-ender from Muralitharan and then played a reverse sweep in the very next delivery. Eventually he got there with a dab past square leg off the last ball of Muralitharan’s over.

Sehwag had been dismissed in the 190s before, but his hard work was not to be denied this time as he kept his composure to reach his fifth double ton.

There was a difficult chance put down off him when he was on 156 as Chamara Silva tripped over the boundary ropes at long leg and allowed the ball to go over for a six.

He also became the tenth Indian to complete 5,000 Test runs after Sachin Tendulkar (11,826), Sunil Gavaskar (10,122), Rahul Dravid (10,101), Dilip Vengsarkar (6,868), Sourav Ganguly (6,819), Mohammad Azharuddin (6,215), Gundappa Vishwanath (6,080), V.V.S. Laxman (5,892) and Kapil Dev (5,248).

Sehwag also became the 42nd opener in the history of the game to carry his bat through and the second Indian after another opener, Sunil Gavaskar, who had achieved the feat in 1983.

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