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Priceless partnerships

  • A feature of the Indian batting over the last couple of days was the partnerships that was realised for each top-order wicket - Virender Sehwag put on 113 with Gautam Gambhir for the opening wicket, 103 with Rahul Dravid for the second, and 118 with Sachin Tendulkar for the third. In fact, it was the first time in India's Test history, and the 11th instance in all, that the top three wickets had all put together century stands. The last time this happened in Tests was when Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Gary Kirsten and Boeta Dippenaar all got among the runs at Lord's in 2003. England, who were at the receiving end then, have themselves achieved this feat three times, while South Africa and Pakistan have done it twice. Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka are the other teams to have completed this feat.

  • After the third day Pakistan can, at best, save this match, but it needn't have been so if the fielders had offered better support to the bowlers, and if a crucial decision had gone their way. Sehwag, dropped on 15 for the first time, went on to make 173; Tendulkar was offered a reprieve by umpire Rudi Koertzen when on 8, and made 94, while Sourav Ganguly got two lives on 20 (though he only added another run to his score). Add up all those extra runs, and it amounts to a grand total of 245 runs. A bit more discipline and luck, and Pakistan would have been eyeing not just a draw but perhaps a win.

  • Once again Virender Sehwag showed his value to the side. As long as he was at the crease, India were rattling along at more than four an over. Sehwag got out, and the runs reduced to a trickle, as the rest of the batsmen scored at just more than two an over. It's a trend that has been seen in the Indian team for a while now - the table below shows how the scoring rate has generally fallen alarmingly once Sehwag has been dismissed, in innings in which he scored a hundred as an opener.

  • After completing his half-century off just 80 balls, Sachin Tendulkar visibly slowed down towards the latter part of his innings, especially as he neared his 35th Test hundred. Which brings us to an interesting and oft-asked question - does Tendulkar go into his shell as he nears a landmark? The numbers would suggest he has done that a few times recently - in his last six hundreds, he has twice taken 40 or more deliveries to go from 80 to 100. He required 45 deliveries to get those 20 runs at Port-of-Spain, but had he got to his landmark here, it would probably have been his slowest journey from 80 to 100 - he had already taken 43 balls to move from 80 to 94.

    S Rajesh is assistant editor of Cricinfo. For some of the data, he was helped by Arun Gopalakrishnan, the operations manager in Cricinfo's Chennai office.