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October 15, 2004
Virender Sehwag overcame a streak of bad form in the international arena with a stirring century against Australia in the second Test that gave India the upper hand. Here's what he had to say about his innings, the pitch and Shane Warne.
On how hard it was to break out from his bad run of form
It was difficult. But I knew I had the ability to come back, and it was only a matter of one big innings. I was determined that if I cross 50, I'll convert it into a century. I was playing well at Bangalore when I made 39 in the first innings, but I failed to convert that. Here, though, I converted my start into the hundred that my team needed.
Did he, or India, have a specific gameplan for this game?
Our gameplan in this match was the same as in the last one. We knew the first spell from the bowlers was the most dangerous, and we planned to play carefully, take no risks, and see that through. And so we did.
On the role of Sunil Gavaskar, India's batting consultant, in the gameplan
Strategies and so on are decided at team meetings, but he [Sunil] has been a help to us, by sharing his experience of international cricket. If anyone has a problem, he helps out with that, and motivates us all.
On the pitch
It's a good track to bat on. Yes, the ball kept low at times, but that [only] happened when the ball was really old, after 75 overs had been bowled. After the new ball was taken there was no uneven bounce. It was good to bat on today, and I expect the same tomorrow. Perhaps in the fourth and fifth days it will take even more spin than it already is, and get slower.
On missing his double-century
[Somewhat bemused] I still had 45 runs to go for my double-century. Had I got out in my 190s you could have said that I missed making 200, but I was far away from it.
On why he became more aggressive and played some reckless strokes after reaching his century
I thought the team would benefit if I went for my strokes and got some quick runs. But I guess my shot selection wasn't good enough. I wasn't picking the right balls to hit. But I realised at one point that it was more important for me to bat through another session rather than score quick runs. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that.
Was he affected by all the wickets that fell at the other end?
No. My plan was the same throughout, to punish the loose ball but to minimise risk otherwise. The number of wickets that had fallen at the other had had no impact on the way I was playing.
How did he react to the criticism of him, and the calls for his being dropped, during this recent bad phase?
When you don't perform, everybody puts pressure on you. When you do, those same people acclaim you. I wasn't worried, and besides, I had got some confidence from my innings of 146 in the warm-up game before the first Test. I knew that if I spend time at the wicket, the runs would come. And that's just what happened.
On his making around two-thirds of the runs scored while he was at the crease
Look, some of our batsmen were unlucky. Rahul [Dravid] got an inside edge, [VVS] Laxman got a ball that kept really low: had these strokes of luck not gone against us, we would perhaps have been just three or four wickets down at close of play today. We could have set them a bigger target for tomorrow.
On how many runs he thinks India can make on the third day
I think 100 more is possible, that'll give us a lead of 150, and we'll be well on top.
On which of the Australian bowlers he was most impressed with today
[Jason] Gillespie bowled really well.
... And Warne?
Well, he took wickets, but I don't think he bowled quite that well.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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