x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Centurion Sehwag can stand tall again

Sehwag, returning to the venue where he made his last hundred, scored 117, at a run a ball.

Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag.
Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag.

It was a long time coming. The last time Virender Sehwag scored a Test hundred? Against New Zealand in November 2010. It was his seventh in the space of a year. India were ranked No 1 in Tests and Sehwag's partnership with Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order was one of the most feared in the game.

Five months later, India won the World Cup on home soil. It has been a steep descent since, with 0-4 reverses in Test series in England and Australia.

India's openers had not managed a century partnership since December 2010, and they came into the England series with questions being asked about whether they were surviving on reputation alone.

On a dry pitch in Ahmedabad, where you could see the odd puff of dust even on the first evening, Gambhir and Sehwag added 134 in just 179 balls.

Sehwag, returning to the venue where he made his last hundred, scored 117, at a run a ball. Even though he slowed as he approached three figures, he needed just 90 balls to end the drought. In a match unlikely to see huge scores, it could be a priceless effort.

When in the mood, Sehwag can shred any attack, but England did not help their cause by giving him the width to pierce the off-side field. After lunch, there was no slip either, giving Sehwag the freedom and confidence to late cut the seamers for four.

The impact he had on the day's proceedings is apparent from the scoring rates. When he was dismissed, India had 224 from 50.1 overs. The rest of the day, they managed 99 from 39.5 overs. Dry pitch or not, Sehwag was irrepressible.

sports@thenational.ae