Cricket: Sehwag dominates, but India trails

Sunday, March 27, 2005

India v Pakistan - Third Test, Day 3 - Bangalore, India

File image of cricket ball.

Virender Sehwag's characteristic 201 wasn't enough to help India to safety, as a late spur of wickets in the final session left the hosts at 6-379, in response to Pakistan's first innings score of 570, still trailing by 191 runs, at close of play on Day 3 of the third and final Test of this historic series.

Sehwag dominated each and every Pakistani bowler during his dominant batting display, a second score of 200+ against the sub-continental neighbours. His innings, which could have been brought to an end when he was 43 when Asim Kamal missed a sharp chance at short leg, constituted 28 fours and two mammoth sixes.

Sehwag shared vital partnerships with fellow opener Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar; however none of those blossomed into a dominating partnership, which could have brought the match in the middle, instead of giving Pakistan the edge.

Gambhir was the first wicket to fall on the day, when caught at slip off a wide Sami delivery for 24, ending a 98-run opening partnership. But his wicket had no effect on Sehwag's concentration, as he kept blasting ball after ball, reaching the three-figure mark, when the team scored had reached only 150.

Dravid, on the back of two centuries in the last match, looked solid enough to threaten the Pakistani bowling, however a surprising lapse in concentration had him trapped in front of the wickets off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, for 22. Even as Sachin Tendulkar, the new man in, looked shaky to start with, Sehwag continued his onslaught, reaching his 150, as well as 3000 runs in Test cricket, becoming the fastest Indian to achieve that landmark.

Tendulkar soon found his feet though; even playing the customary paddle sweep that he has made his trademark. His dismissal was brought about by Shahid Afridi, who deceived him, to edge a straight drive to Younis Khan at backward point.

Post-tea, Sehwag galloped to the double hundred, before losing his cool, just two balls later, to Kaneria, giving a simple caught and bowled chance to the leggie. India lost two more wickets, within just 37 runs, to end up on the back foot at the end of the day. Sourav Ganguly, eluded of a century since more than a year, was stumped off a well-disguised googly for one, off Kaneria again, who finished with three wickets.

VVS Laxman remained unbeaten on 51, with Irfan Pathan joining him at the fall on the sixth wicket, that of Dinesh Kaarthick for 10.

Score Summary

Pakistan 570 all out Younis Khan 267, Inzamam-ul-Haq 184, Harbhajan Singh 6-152 India 379-6 V Sehwag 201, VVS Laxman 51*, Danish Kaneria 3-97

India trail by 191 runs, with four first innings wickets in hand.