Multan, March 28: Virender Sehwag has no “specific” memory of the 1989-90 series. Yet, no 11-year-old of the present times is ever going to forget his artistically-crafted unbeaten 228 here on Day I of the Indo-Pak Test revival.
Had Sehwag been a cine star, his career-best knock (and the highest by an Indian against Pakistan) would have been the equivalent of a box office superhit on the opening day of a much-awaited release.
With Sehwag batting like never before, India reached a terms-dictating 356 for two and Inzamam-ul Haq will himself have to seek Allah’s dua. First, he lost the toss and, then, ran into somebody who isn’t comfortable opening but has still authored five hundreds at the very top.
“My priority was to stay unbeaten... I’m happy at achieving that, as I’m happy having played the best innings of my (28-month) Test career,” Sehwag said at an interaction with the media. Clearly, the Delhiite paced himself admirably, capitalising on two let-offs.
Dedicating the knock to his parents and fiancée Arti, he added: “Four days remain and if we continue to play well, we should win. Personally, I’m looking at a triple hundred. I do know that no Indian has scored more than 281 (V.V.S.Laxman).”
While Sehwag himself is looking at a triple, former Pakistan captain Intikhab Alam believes he can break Matthew Hayden’s world record (380). “Sehwag hasn’t been troubled and with the wicket so benign, he may get to 400 and India past 600,” he told The Telegraph.
Sehwag, of course, could have got his first double hundred at the MCG, earlier in the season, when he fell for a ballistic 195 on Day I. It’s a reflection of his growing maturity that, today, he didn’t mind a waiting-game. In fact, he was on 199 for nine deliveries.
“Yes, I was conscious about having got out for 195. This time, I decided to wait for a loose ball. That’s something Sachin (Tendulkar) kept telling me from the other end,” Sehwag pointed out.
Just as well that Sehwag didn’t get impatient or, else, there may have been an MCG repeat where India lost the early advantage and eventually the Test itself.
Mighty pleased, by the way, was regular captain Sourav Ganguly — incidentally, the one instrumental in getting Sehwag to open (England, 2002). “We’ve seen a great innings. I would rate it No.3, after Laxman’s 281 at the Eden and Rahul Dravid’s 233 in Adelaide.”
For all his success as opener — he bettered his own Indian record of the maximum Test runs (195) on a single day — Sehwag reiterated he would be happier in the middle-order. But, then, who is going to devastate the opposition from the very start'
Sehwag will surely be flooded with compliments, richly merited at that, and this one from Rameez Raja (a classy opener in his time) could be among the more special: “This double hundred is going to be remembered for a number of reasons — quality of strokeplay, excellent timing and its significance in the context of the series.”
One need not add anything.