The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sehwag rues lapse in concentration
- With 201, flamboyant Indian opener first to register double and triple centuries versus Pakistan

Bangalore: While many in the country celebrated Holi, Virender Sehwag feasted on the Pakistan bowlers. Of course, not for the first time. It's a three-Test series, or else the visitors' misery could have continued beyond this one-time Garden City.

Probably, the latest F-16s alone can act as a deterrent.

Sehwag, who scripted a career-best 309 in Multan a year ago, helped himself to 201 on Saturday. In doing so, he became the fastest Indian to storm the 3,000 club (nine innings fewer than Mohammed Azharuddin) and is the only one to register both a triple and a double century against Pakistan.

With the scintillating Delhiwala taking charge in his inimitable manner, Team India weren't pressed to avoid the follow-on. At stumps on Day III of the final Test, the hosts were 379 for six (still 191 behind), but unless the innings sees a quick closure, a draw appears the most likely result.

If that's how the season's last Test ends, the TVS Cup will be India's.

That he had already collected 305 runs in the first two Tests didn't lessen Sehwag's passion or hunger. Just as well, otherwise Team India may have been in that looking-down-the-barrel situation.

'I was wanting to bat through the day... However, there was a lapse in concentration after getting the double and... It would have been okay had I been off strike for an over (after reaching 200),' Sehwag remarked.

Talking to The Telegraph, he clarified the 'lapse' wasn't due to stray thoughts taking root: 'Ek achievement ko sink karne ke liye kuch time lagta hai... Aisa nahin ki I began to actually think of something or...'

Sehwag had begun the day on 39 ' he added 56 in the opening session, with 66 coming in the second. He fell (a return catch to Danish Kaneria) after tea, having been around for 335 minutes. The runs came off 262 deliveries (28x4, 2x6).

'It's not that I've got a liking for Pakistan... I only want to be consistent,' Sehwag explained, adding: 'I don't plan the pace at which I play... Main ball ko dekh kar marta hoon... Any delivery which needs to be hit won't be spared... Whatever the form, that's the way I bat.'

Incidentally, he dedicated his fourth century of the season (tenth overall) to wife Arti. And, in a nice gesture, said he would have been 'more happy' had hero Sachin Tendulkar got his 35th century.

'Mujhe dukh hua... Sachin could have to wait for the next season if the opportunity doesn't come in the second innings,' Sehwag observed.

Sachin was brilliant, but fell for 41. Those runs, though, were enough to take him past Brian Lara. Now, he needs five to overtake Sunil Gavaskar and occupy the all-time No. 3 slot.

Not bothered about niceties, Sehwag didn't have kind words for the Chinnaswamy Stadium wicket: 'I wouldn't call it a good Test pitch, because just 16 wickets have fallen in three days and over 900 scored... Batsmen and bowlers should both have something for them...'

Mohammed Sami did bowl short and tried to provoke verbally, but Sehwag wasn't impressed. He wasn't with his compatriots either. 'Was any bowler difficult' Koi nahin,' was his response when a Mediaman bowled a long-hop.

That simply had to be smashed. Anything loose, after all, is going to get the treatment over which Sehwag could soon claim and earn --- a patent.

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