One sure sign of a top-class batsman is the ability to score consistently off good deliveries. Virender Sehwag demonstrated this today. His strike-rate of 71 runs per 100 balls was proof of the ease with which he handled bowlers who didn't bowl particularly badly to him.

As many as 172 - or 83% - of the 206 balls he faced were on a good length or just short, and he hammered these for 116 runs. And 146 deliveries - 71% of the balls he faced - were on off stump or just outside; he hit 109 runs - 74% of his total - off them.

Of course, he was quick to punish the errant ball as well, as a top batsman must. He smashed 27 runs off the 22 fullish deliveries he faced and gave the bowlers no scope to falter.

As many as 111 of his 147 runs - 76% - came on the off side, the area between cover and third man being particularly productive, but this merely reflected the line bowled to him. He showed admirable patience in playing out 152 dot balls, and 114 of his runs - 78% - came from boundaries. But Sehwag is no slogger: he had an in-control percentage of 78, which, while not quite Dravidian or Tendulkaresque, is perfectly respectable for a top-order batsman.

Amit Varma is assistant editor of Wisden.com in India.