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On the ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan
April 2, 2005
The conditions were stifling at Kochi, but Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag handled the heat and the Pakistani bowlers superbly, and their 201-run stand was the cornerstone of India's comprehensive win. If conditions like those, you'd expect batsmen to hit plenty of boundaries and save themselves the bother of running between the wickets, but Dravid, especially, batted exactly as he would normally, running hard and striking only the occasional hits to the fence. His innings contained 58 singles and 11 twos - that's 77% of his runs which came the hard way. Add the singles and two he ran for his partners, and the numbers burgeon to 121 singles, 15 twos and a three. No wonder he was quite exhausted by the end of it all. Sehwag, on the other hand, hit 50% of his runs in boundaries.
India's trump card in the field was Sachin Tendulkar, who renewed his love affair with the Nehru Stadium in Kochi. His overall figures were impressive enough - 10-1-50-5 - but they were even better when he bowled from round the wicket, cramping the batsmen for room. He bowled 53 such deliveries, and conceded just 32 runs, a rate of 3.6 per over, and took all wickets. And when he pitched it outside leg, Pakistan's batsmen were floundering, managing just three per over.
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