Pakistan v India, 1st Test, Multan, 2nd day March 29, 2004

'I was taken by surprise' - Tendulkar

Virender Sehwag soaked up the acclaim for his triple-century, the first by an Indian in 72 years of Test cricket, while Sachin Tendulkar lauded his efforts and expounded on his disappointment at missing out on a fourth double-hundred. Despite Sehwag having gone where no Indian batsman had ever ventured, the press conference at day's end was dominated by questions regarding the declaration that left Tendulkar stranded on 194. Despite the team's recent successes, it appears that certain sections of the media are unwilling to give up their worship of the cult of the individual.



"I told him it was a great opportunity for him to get a really big one. The way he was batting, it was just a matter of him spending X hours at the crease to break the record." © AFP

Sachin Tendulkar
On missing out on a double-century
Obviously, I'm a little disappointed, having got so close. I was aware that the declaration was just around the corner, but when it came, I was taken by surprise. The plan was to put them in for an hour or so. We were playing very positively at the time ... a run-rate of four-an-over is very good in Test cricket. But when Yuvraj got out, I saw Rahul [Dravid] calling us in.

On whether he talked to anyone about the declaration
Once a decision is taken, there's not much point talking about it.

On Sehwag's innings
It was just fabulous. Nobody can predict what he'll do with the next ball. The best part of his batting is that everyone enjoys it. The team did, and I'm sure the crowds did too. Very few guys in the world can manage that sort of strokeplay. I'm just glad he plays for our team. He can be a nightmare to play against, and when you're playing for Mumbai against Rest of India, you just hope that he doesn't get going.

On it being about time that an Indian passed 300
It was badly needed, and I'm happy that Viru did it. Most countries that play cricket have one or more players having made 300-plus. Better late than never. It was a great moment for Indian cricket.

On whether he guided Sehwag through his innings
He hears me, but I don't know if he always listens to me (laughs). But this time, I told him it was a great opportunity for him to get a really big one. The way he was batting, it was just a matter of him spending X hours at the crease to break the record.

On whether India's batting might have set the tone for the series
We're only two days into the series, and there are 13 more days to go. It's far too early to say. What is important is that we continue to play the same way.

On the prospects for the next three days
It's going to be a lot of hard work for the bowlers to get 20 wickets. If it's supported by good fielding, we can make it happen. I don't think the pitch will crumble, but if a few of the patches break up, the spinners can take advantage.

On Gavaskar's record of 34 centuries being around the corner
I don't know where that corner is (smiles). I would rather try and read what the bowlers are trying to do than be preoccupied with landmarks.

Virender Sehwag
On how he spent last night
I slept very well in preparation for the 300.

Any regrets
[I am] just happy at having got 309.

On batting alongside his childhood icon
[I am] very happy that Sachin was with me.

On surpassing the Indian record
It was a great pleasure for me to get it. It was more special coming against Pakistan.

Had it sunk in yet?
[It] doesn't feel like I have made 309. Maybe I will realise it in a day or two (smiles).

On missing out on Matthew Hayden's record
Yes, I was a little disappointed. If I could have carried on another hour or hour-and-a-half, I think I could have broken it.

On the opposition's appreciation of his innings
Miandad congratulated me after the game.

Other's reaction to Sehwag's innings

Sourav Ganguly
[Sehwag's 309 was] an outstanding innings which settled the issue about opening the innings. He has done a phenomenal job at the top of the order.

Rahul Dravid
[It was a] fantastic effort, full of breathtaking shots - it was a privilege to watch the innings.

VVS Laxman, whose 281 was the previous highest by an Indian
I am extremely pleased that Viru has become India's highest run-getter in a Test innings. I always thought that he would do it because he scores so fast. But I am somewhat disappointed that he did not go past Hayden's record.

Dileep Premachandran is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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