A run-glut for Sehwag and Gambhir
There were plenty of stats highlights on a day in which India scored 417, their highest in a single day. Here's a look at some of the more important ones.
- The first couple of sessions on the opening day was almost entirely about Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, and their 233-run opening partnership. It's only the ninth 200-plus opening partnership for India, and the third highest. Sehwag and Gambhir became the first Indian pair to get two double-century stands for the first wicket - their earlier such effort had come at the same venue almost exactly five years ago, when they added 218 against South Africa in a high-scoring draw in November 2004. In fact, Sehwag has been involved in five of those nine doubles - Sanjay Bangar, Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer have been his other partners.
- The Sehwag-Gambhir pair is fast climbing the rungs among the all-time opening pairs. During the course of this stand they went past the aggregates of a couple of English pairs - Trescothick-Vaughan and Atherton-Gooch - and are 12th in terms of partnership runs by opening pairs. Among Indian pairs, Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan have scored more, but they are only 506 runs in front. Sehwag and Gambhir are also one of only 12 pairs - and the first Indians - to have two or more double-century stands for the opening wicket.
- Among opening pairs with at least 2000 partnership runs, only four pairs average more than Sehwag and Gambhir's 59.61.
Best opening pairs in Tests (Qual: 2000 runs) Pair Innings Runs Average 100/ 50 stands Hobbs-Sutcliffe 38 3249 87.81 15/ 10 Hobbs-Rhodes 36 2146 61.31 8/ 5 Lawry-Simpson 62 3596 60.94 9/ 18 Hutton-Washbrook 51 2880 60.00 8/ 13 Gambhir-Sehwag 43 2504 59.61 6/ 13
- Equally impressive is the rate at which Gambhir and Sehwag score their runs - their average run rate is 4.68, which is the highest among all opening pairs who've faced at least 1500 balls. (Click here for the full list.)
- Gambhir outstanding Test form continues unabated - it's his seventh century in his last nine Tests, a run which started with the second Test against Australia last year. During this period, he averages 93.81, with 11 fifty-plus scores in 17 innings. It was also Gambhir's fourth hundred in successive Tests - he'd got a couple in New Zealand and a 114 in the first Test in Ahmedabad. That makes him only the third Indian batsman - after Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid - to score centuries in four successive Tests. (Click here for the full list.)
- The table below shows how the openers, and the entire team, scored their runs on the opening day. Sehwag and Gambhir struck 27 fours during their stand, but what also stands out is the number of singles they ran - 71 of them. They also ran two threes, which none of the other batsmen managed. They only played 133 dot balls, which is 53% of the total balls they faced. Overall, the Indians played 308 dots, which is almost 57% of the total deliveries.
The Gambhir-Sehwag partnership, and India's overall run-scoring pattern Dots Singles 2s/ 3s 4s/ 6s Bat runs Balls faced Run rate Opening partnership 133 71 16/ 2 27/ 2 229 251 5.47 India on the first day 308 159 31/ 2 41/ 2 403 543 4.45
- For Sri Lanka, the day was bitterly disappointing. Ajantha Mendis was toothless, and while Muttiah Muralitharan conceding 100 runs in 18 overs. If he continues leaking runs at this rate, it'll be his most expensive bowling performance in an innings in which he's bowled more than two overs.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo