Virender Sehwag put on a brave face as he tried to explain another batting collapse from the World XI on the second day at Sydney. He was less culpable than most of his team-mates, after flaying a powerful 76, but refused to blame his peers for the collapse from 134 for 3 to 190 all out. "The Australians are bowling very well. We are ready for every challenge - but sometimes the batting clicks and sometimes it doesn't," he told reporters after play.
With the Super Series desperately needing a contest to match the hype, the World XI suffered a top-order slump against Glenn McGrath before being spun out by Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill. Sehwag conceded that the early loss of wickets proved crucial: "Today we got starts but still we lost some early wickets like Brian [Lara] and Rahul [Dravid]. So if they could get runs then we can come back in the second innings."
Other than Sehwag's innings, it was a barren day as far as positives go for the World XI. There is a feeling that they have shown the Australian attack too much respect but Sehwag said that quality bowling needs to be treated watchfully. "They are bowling in the right areas and you have to show them some respect, especially against the new ball. If we want to bat really well we have to spend more time at the wicket, so we are looking forward to tomorrow and being able to get back into the game."
Sehwag denied that the World XI were embarrassed by their poor batting performance, and instead were focusing hard on how they could turn the match around. "We are just backing ourselves. We are talking in the dressing room that we have to play well tomorrow if we want to win this game and we will come out hard. It is cricket: you never know."