x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Scintillating Sehwag pulverises Sri Lanka

The opener exploded with the second fastest unbeaten double century to put India in control and is 16 short of becoming the first player to hit three triple Test centuries.

Virender Sehwag is on course to become the first player to hit three triple Test centuries after he smashed a towering 284 at the CCI in Mumbai yesterday. The Indian opener's total, which included 40 fours and seven sixes, was struck off just 239 balls as the hosts easily surpassed Sri Lanka's opening innings of 393 in the third and deciding Test. India lead 1-0. "I missed the big knock in the last Test, I didn't want to miss out this time," he said. "I just wanted to hit the bad balls. I was watching the ball really well and I wanted to see the ball and hit the ball."

Having reached a quickfire half century before Sri Lanka had even deployed Muttiah Muralitharan to the crease, Sehwag - who holds the record for most runs in a single innings by an Indian - made light work of the spinner as the visitor's bowlers were left impotent. Things, however, only got worse for the Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara and his bowlers. Sehwag hit the 200-mark off 168 balls, the second fastest double century in Test history - only Nathan John Astle, who needed 15 balls less to reach the milestone against England in 2002, has reached it quicker. Sehwag marched on and reached the 250-mark off only 207 deliveries. "Muralitharan is a big challenge to face. Rather than wait for him to dominate I wanted to dominate him," said Sehwag. "On the first day the pitch was damp and so it was spinning and seaming but it has gone now. Day four and five it will turn again." The only two other players to have hit two triple centuries are Australian legend Don Bradman, and the retired West Indies star Brian Lara. emegson@thenational.ae

Sri Lanka: first innings 393 India (first innings): Murali Vijay lbw b Herath 87 Virender Sehwag batting 284 Rahul Dravid batting 62 Extras (lb-3, nb-7) 10 Total: (for one wicket in 79 overs) 443 Bowling: Chanaka Welegedara 16-2-73-0, Nuwan Kulasekara 12-0-84-0, Rangana Herath 22-2-112-1, Muttiah Muralitharan 20-0-119-0, Angelo Mathews 6-0-36-0, Tillakaratne Dilshan 3-0-16-0