West Indies v India, 2nd Test, St Lucia, 1st day

Sehwag's early blast

The first day of the second Test was mostly about one outstanding individual performance: Virender Sehwag destroyed the West Indian attack with his magnificent 180 which put India on course for a huge first-innings total

On the Ball with S Rajesh

June 10, 2006

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The first day of the second Test was mostly about one outstanding individual performance: Virender Sehwag destroyed the West Indian attack with his magnificent 180 which put India on course for a huge first-innings total. Though Pedro Collins pulled it back somewhat with a wholehearted bowling effort, taking 4 for 75 and getting to 100 Test wickets in the process, India still ended the day well on top.

On a pitch which was expected to assist the fast bowlers early, Sehwag completely snatched the initiative at the start with his aggression. It wasn't just mindless hitting either: when Wasim Jaffer was going strong at the other end en route to their 159-run first-wicket stand - beating India's previous highest in the West Indies, 136 between Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad at Kingston in 1975-76 - Sehwag went hard at the bowling, taking advantage of the close-in fielders and the large gaps in the outfield. He scored 99 off 75 balls in the first session, missing by a whisker the opportunity to become the fifth batsman to score a century in the first session of a Test. When India lost Jaffer and VVS Laxman in the second session, he slowed down considerably, before picking up again in the final session when Rahul Dravid assured him of solidity at the other end.

Sehwag's session-wise progress
Session Balls Runs 4s/ 6s
Morning 75 99 15/ 2
Afternoon 72 43 4/ 0
Evening 43 38 1/ 0

The point and cover region were again the most prolific regions, but 40 of those 68 runs came before lunch, when there were more gaps in the field. As Lara packed the off side after lunch, Sehwag was good enough to work the balls on leg side for his runs.

And as usual, Sehwag again proved that what's a good length to most batsmen is a good run-scoring length for him - he scored at 5.45 per over off good-length deliveries, only marginally lower than his scoring rate off the balls which were too full or too short. The bowler who felt the Sehwag effect the most was Dwayne Bravo - he disappeared for 51 from the 37 balls be bowled to Sehwag; 28 of those deliveries were on a good length, and yet they cost him 37.

The only West Indian who came out of the day's play with his reputation enhanced was Collins, who became the 17th bowler from the region to get to 100 Test wickets. The most impressive aspect of his performance was his control: 110 out of 120 balls reached the batsman on or outside off stump; with Lara putting most of his fielders in a cordon around point and cover, that was the perfect channel to bowl.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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