'My best knock' - Sehwag
Virender Sehwag was all praise for the surface in Rajkot where he notched up his career-best effort in ODIs
Virender Sehwag is arguably the only player in the world who will score a 102-ball 142 and then put his money on the opposition for superstitious reasons. Yet even there he was a winner - at the end of a day on which 825 runs were scored, his knock propelled India to an ultimately unreachable score and he later said it was his best ODI innings.
"It is my best knock, better than the 130 I made earlier [against New Zealand in 2003]," said Sehwag, who had scant sympathy for the bowlers, most of whom had their averages ruined. "One-day cricket is a batsman's game. It was a very good one-day wicket. Yet Ashish Nehra bowled 28 to 30 yorkers in his last five overs and Zaheer also bowled a lot of yorkers. That helped us win in the end."
Batting first on a belter can be fraught with the danger of under-achieving and Sehwag acknowledged that the goal-posts kept shifting during India's innings. "When Tendulkar and I were batting we thought we could reach 350 as the wicket was that good," he said. "But then when I and MS Dhoni got together to raise the 300 in the 32nd over, we felt we could get 400."
The batting Powerplays proved to be crucial as both India and Sri Lanka lost wickets that robbed their respective innings of momentum. Sehwag singled out the dismissals of the rampant Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan during the restrictions as the key moment in the match. "When they were batting so well it looked like we might lose the match," he said. "Their dismissals turned the match in our favour."
India's win was almost undone by some sloppy fielding - they dropped easy catches and gave away several runs in the outfield - but Sehwag chose to dwell on the manner in which the standards improved towards the end of the match. "We have dropped a lot of catches in the T20 and also dropped a few here," he said. "But later we realised that we need to focus on fielding well. We effected run-outs and fielded very well which contributed a lot to the victory."