Sehwag's assault gives India firm control

Updated: 04 December 2009 14:12 IST

Flamboyant Indian batsman Virender Sehwag's double century (284*) along with fifties from Murali Vijay (87) and Rahul Dravid (62*) took India to 443/1.


Virender Sehwag clobbered a breath-taking unbeaten 284 as India rode on his brutal assault to take complete control of the third and final Test against a hapless Sri Lanka here on Thursday.

Replying to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 393, the 31-year-old Sehwag set the Brabourne stadium ablaze with a stunning display of strokeplay as the hosts raced to a record score of 443 for one at close on an extraordinary second day's play.

Sehwag plundered runs at will as he not only notched up his 17th Test ton, his sixth 200 plus total, but laid the platform for India to push for victory which would take them to the number one position in the ICC Test rankings.

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With the Delhi dasher tearing the Lankan bowling attack to shreds with his unbeaten 284 coming off just 239 balls, the Indians scored at an amazing rate of 5.60 runs per over to post their highest ever single-day score on a Brabourne track which seemed to have eased out considerably.

Rahul David (62) was giving Sehwag company on stumps on a day which saw a number of batting records fall by the wayside.

The day clearly belonged to the hosts as they took less than half an hour to polish off the remaining two Sri Lankan wickets and had taken a lead of 50 runs by the end of the day, scoring more than 400 runs in a day for the second consecutive Test.

It was India's highest score on a single day, eclipsing the previous best of 417 in the second Test of the ongoing series in Kanpur last week.

Sehwag also broke his record of mosts individual runs scored in a day by scoring 284, improving upon his previous best of 257 against South Africa in Chennai last year. He also became the third fastest Indian to complete 6000 runs in Test cricket after Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.

The seizable crowd at the Brabourne stadium, hosting a Test match after a gap of 36 years, were treated to some audacious exhibition of strokeplay as Sehwah smashed as many as 40 boundaries and seven sixes during his rampage.

With three days left, the Indians will now look for a mammoth first innings lead and put the islanders under enormous pressure in the second innings when the track was expected to assist the spinners.

Resuming at their overnight 366 for eight, Sri Lanka added 13 runs before losing Angelo Mathews who was run out on 99, his highest Test score, when going for a second run with Muttiah Muralitharan.

Mathews, who batted beautifully last evening and rallied the visitors from a difficult 188 for four with Tillakaratne Dilshan, was beaten narrowly by a superb throw from the deep square leg by Sachin Tendulkar to India wicketkeeper and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Third umpire Shavir Tarapore, after viewing the replays repeatedly, declared Mathews out to leave Lanka at 379 for nine.

It was heartbreak for the 22-year-old Mathews to have joined the short list of cricketers from his country caught one short of 100, which would have been his maiden one. The others were Mahela Jayawardene and Russel Arnold, a TV commentator in this series.

Mathews' struck 15 fours, including two this morning, while facing 132 balls.

Last man Chanaka Welegedara struck two fours before he was trapped leg before by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who came in to bowl replacing Harbhajan Singh.

Ojha finished with 3 for 101, playing a good supporting role to Harbhajan who claimed 4 for 112.

Sehwag and Vijay, in the playing eleven because of the absence of in-form batsman Gautam Gambhir, negotiated the initial overs from the Sri Lanka medium pacers without raising too many alarms.

Vijay, playing his second Test after making his debut in November 2008 against Australia at Nagpur, flicked Welegedara sweetly off his pads for his first four while Sehwag, preferring to wait a bit before opening out, on-drove Nuwan Kulasekara for his first boundary.

The Delhi dasher clobbered the visiting bowlers in his typical fashion to race to his hundred off only 101 balls.

Vijay played the perfect foil to his senior and more aggressive partner while also playing some magnificent drives before departing for 87 with 40 minutes left for tea.

Vijay, who was let off when on 67, struck 10 fours and a six off Muttiah Muralitharan in his 121-ball knock, tried to sweep a Rangana Herath delivery, missed it and was caught plumb in front.

Sehwag was in menacing form as a flurry of fours and sixes flew from his bat. He drove and cut powerfully, played against the spin too at times with disdain, and also used the reverse sweep on one occasion to simply demoralise the visiting attack.

The two openers gave a rollicking start to the innings to race away to 92 without loss in 18 overs at lunch and then stepped up the tempo in the second session with Sehwag going into over-drive while Vijay looked elegant.

As many as 168 runs were scored in the second session in only 27 overs as all the Lankan bowlers were subjected to harsh treatment by Sehwag who singled out Rangana Herath, the left arm spinner who took a five-wicket haul in the second Test at Kanpur, for special punishment.

Sehwag, who notched up his third triple-figure knock against the Lankans today, lofted Herath for four of his five sixes. Sehwag's century, which he reached with a paddle sweep off Muralitharan, was studded with 13 fours and two sixes.

Topics : Cricket Dhawal Kulkarni India New Zealand
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