India v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Bangalore, 3rd day March 26, 2005

Driving the bowlers to distraction

On the Ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan

For the third day in a row, one batting performance shone through at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. After Inzamam-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, it was Virender Sehwag's turn to delight, scoring 201 from just 262 balls.

A break-up of Sehwag's most productive strokes makes for interesting analysis. The on-drive contributed the maximum number of runs - more than a fifth of his runs came via that stroke (41 runs from 29 shots) - followed by the cover-drive (28 from 10). However, there were other strokes which he played more selectively, but which fetched him excellent value: he only played three late-cuts, but each one was executed with precise timing and placement, and brought a four on every occasion. Also, of the 262 balls faced, he offered a defensive bat 117 times, fairly high by his usually aggressive standard.

Against most batsmen, a good-length delivery would have a high probability of being a dot ball. Not with Sehwag, though. As the graphic below shows, his scoring rate off those deliveries was nearly 70; against anything which was too full or too short, he scored at around a run a ball.