Sports Magazine

Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara Put India on Top

By Azharnadeem
Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag ended his two-year century drought

Virender Sehwag snapped up his three-figure drought with a stunning ton and Cheteshwar Pujara is close to his second Test hundred as India claimed an upper-hand over England in the first Test at Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Virender Sehwag, batting with his classical temperament, slammed run-a-ball 117 and Pujara remained unbeaten on 98 as India reached 323-4 at close after electing to bat on the batting-friendly track of Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann single-handedly kept tourists in game, grabbing all four wickets to fall. England’s body-language in the field was miserable as they dropped four catches and squandered several certain run-out opportunities.  .

Pujara, who has so far hit 13 boundaries in his sagacious 181-ball knock, was present at crease alongside Yuvraj Singh (24 not out). This is Yuvraj’s first Test after one year following his successful recovery from the lung cancer.

Pujara survived a dropped catch by James Anderson off Tim Bresnan on just eight. The lifeline made him more cautious and he then batted watchfully throughout the two sessions.

England’s strategy to play three pacers and only one specialist spinner on the track, which was expected to offer turn and bounce to the seamers, proved erroneous and seamers failed to frustrate the Indian batsmen.

The man to do so was Swann, who produced sharp turn with his magical variations and nettled the stumps of Gautam Gambhir (45), Sehwag and Virat Kohli (19). The fashion to scalp the special wicket of Sachin Tendulkar (13) was different and he was caught by Summit Patel at deep long-on.

Earlier, Virender Sehwag and Gambhir laid the strong foundations for India by delivering a stunning 134-run opening stand.

Keeping the ethics of five-day cricket aside, Sehwag opened the innings flamboyantly and lashed sparkling shots all over the park. The Delhi swashbuckler was particularly ruthless against Tim Bresnan, to whom he two boundaries and a six in 19th over.

The century partnership came in the first ball of the next over in the 20th over. It was the pair’s first three-figure stand after 26 digs.

Unstoppable Sehwag continued to smash the ball past rope but the introduction of Swann slowed down the progress.

Getting a lifeline after being dropped by wicketkeeper Matt Prior on 80, Virender Sehwag completed his first Test century for two years overall off only 90 balls.

Laced with 15 boundaries and a six, Virender Sehwag’s glorious knock came to an end just before the tea session, when he mistimed Swann’s incoming deliver which scolded the stumps.

Sehwag, who was facing strong criticism for string of below per performances, said watching replays of some of his big knocks of the past helped him in advancing the three-figure mark.

“I have to thank my video analyst Dhananjay. We watched the videos of my past innings where I got hundreds till 11 pm last night. I saw that when I played the first ten overs cautiously I had reached 100. I did the same today,” he said.

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