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‘Century was due for long’

Ahmedabad: India dominated the first day of the opening Test against England, scoring 323 for four, but centurion Virender Sehwag doesn’t think that half the battle is already won.

Speaking at the post-match media conference, Sehwag said that the Indian bowlers will have to work very hard to get 20 England wickets.

The following are excerpts

On the significance of the hundred

This is my 23rd hundred… Every hundred is important. I am very happy to have scored a hundred after a long time and pleased that the hundred came at the right time, the first innings of the first Test. We are now in a good position… Hopefully we will build on that on the second day, and then bowl well. We know we have to bowl well because the wicket is on the slower side.

His last Test hundred being at the same ground

It’s important to score hundreds in Test cricket... I am pleased that I have scored after almost two years… It was due for a long time. The pitch in that match, against New Zealand, was different... I had scored 173 at good pace and it was a good wicket to bat on.

During his almost two-year wait for a century, if he took inspiration from someone

From myself…

If batting is easy on the wicket

No, it’s not easy, because the wicket is very slow. It’s difficult to play your shots… With England’s field setting, where they have more people on the line, especially deep point and deep square leg, it’s not easy to hit boundaries as well. But you have to back yourself and play your shots. After I reached fifty, I relaxed, got a little more confident and played a few shots.

On England playing just one specialist spinner

They came with their own strategy and if you play well, it’s easier to play fast bowlers than spin… The pitch is turning and it will do so on the second day and third day as well.

Whether the Indian spinners, too, will exploit the wicket

(Smiles) That I will tell you on Friday... We will bowl hopefully after tea on the second day. There is help for the spinners… If you bowl patiently and bowl in the right areas, you will get turn and you will be rewarded.

If the game is already in India’s pocket

I don’t think so because we have to work hard to take 20 England wickets... They are not Bangladesh... They are a very good side, No. 2 in the world at the moment. I think we will have to work very hard for their 20 wickets, they will certainly not throw their wickets.

On Sachin Tendulkar completing 23 years in international cricket

I don’t think anyone else can continue for this long… Sachin was born to play cricket. Taking a call on retirement is entirely his decision.