Plays of the Day

The end of Sehwag

Anand Vasu in Kolkata

March 16, 2005

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Shahid Afridi applied pressure to squeeze out Virender Sehwag © AFP

When Virender Sehwag stays at the crease he hurts you. The runs pile up in a hurry, but more importantly he hits bowlers out of their line and length by taking perfectly good deliveries and sending them screaming to the boundary. So when he gives you a chance you had better take it - something Pakistan spectacularly failed to do in the first Test. Sehwag gave his first chance of the day in the 39th over, edging a massive heave towards cover. Inzamam-ul-Haq back-peddled, realised he would not get to the ball that way, turned and took a few quick steps, eyes locked on the ball all the time, and settled under the swirler, the palms of both hands pointing to the sky, as though in prayer. The ball was safely pouched and Pakistan could breathe a little easier, for the savagery of Sehwag was behind them.

Sweet shot

Virender Sehwag is not the sort of batsman who is overly concerned about the time of the day. He is just as likely to step out and loft a spinner over a fielder posted on the midwicket fence in the last over before lunch as any other in the day. Rahul Dravid, on the other hand, is a bit more traditional. So, as Shahid Afridi floated one in first ball after lunch, it was doubly sweet when Dravid got his front foot beautifully down to a well-pitched-up delivery and cover-drove the ball to the fence. It was as though he had hurried through his lunch and forgotten to eat dessert, heartily tucking into Afridi instead.

Anand Vasu is the assistant editor of Cricinfo.

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