Sehwag’s 14th century gives India solid start

March 28th, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by admin  

(Lunch report)
By Anand Philar
Chennai, March 28 (IANS) Virender Sehwag notched his 14th century and second in consecutive Tests as he powered India to 176 without loss replying to South Africa’s first innings score of 540 at lunch on the third day of the first cricket Test here Friday. Sehwag, who had scored 63 and 151 against Australia at Adelaide in his previous Test, gave a masterly exhibition and was batting on 110 while a comparatively subdued Wasim Jaffer (60) lent him excellent support as India went into lunch on a satisfying note.

Sehwag, 29, was at his belligerent best, not afraid to go for his shots. In fact, he got to his century with two lofted shots off Jacques Kallis, over midwicket and long-on, reminiscent of the six that he struck to get to his 300 against Pakistan in the Multan Test exactly three years to date.

For Jaffer, the 31-year-old from Mumbai, it was a welcome return to form following a sequence of eight innings without a half-century and a dismal run on the tour of Australia earlier this year.

Sehwag’s century came off 116 deliveries and contained 15 boundaries and a six while Jaffer took 107 balls for his half-century and had five hits to the ropes and a six.

The opening partnership surpassed their previous best of 129 against the West Indies last year with Sehwag looking at his imperious best and Jaffer playing second fiddle even if with a few slices of luck.

With the pitch playing relatively easy, the Indian batsmen enjoyed themselves, playing through the line and also on the up. The bowlers had little margin for error and suffered mostly at the hands of Sehwag who cut and drove with abandon, besides stepping out for the lofted shots.

Jaffer, on the other hand, was not as convincing with a few edges eluding the close-in fielders, although when he got it right, he was elegance personified.

For South Africa, it was a dismal morning session as none of their bowlers so much as troubled the batsmen. The pace quartet of Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis bowled rather poorly as they repeatedly erred in line and length.

Of the lot, Morkel was the pick, maintaining a comparatively tight line to contain the Indian openers. Similarly, left-arm spinner Paul Harris put the brakes on the rapid scoring with a leg-stump line.

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