x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sound of music soothes India's Sehwag

Virender Sehwag admits singing to himself in order to relax while scoring his 22nd Test century, against New Zealand in Ahmedabad.

India’s Virender Sehwag, right, and Rahul Dravid run between wickets in the first Test against New Zealand in Ahmedabad.
India’s Virender Sehwag, right, and Rahul Dravid run between wickets in the first Test against New Zealand in Ahmedabad.

Virender Sehwag, the buccaneering opener, yesterday revealed the unusual technique he uses to concentrate after plundering his 22nd Test century yesterday.

The right-hander treated the New Zealand bowlers with disdain in Ahmedabad during his 199-ball innings of 173, crashing 24 boundaries, a huge six and dancing down the track twice in the 90s to hoist Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, over the in-field to bring up his century.

Sehwag put on 237 runs for the second wicket with Rahul Dravid, who made 104, and said afterwards: "When I am off strike, I try singing songs, talk to the umpires and not think about the game.

"I try to enjoy my cricket. The moment I start thinking, negative thoughts come on to my mind," he added.

"The pitch was very easy to bat on and I knew that if I saw off the opening 30 minutes, I was in for a big score.

"New Zealand has an inexperienced bowling attack and it would not have been easy for them to bowl in these conditions."

India beat Australia 2-0 last month to cement their position at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings and are aiming to keep up the momentum in this three-match series.

"If we want to stay at No 1 ... If we want to win more Test matches, we have to give time to our bowlers to take 20 wickets," Sehwag told Neo Cricket channel.

"The new ball was coming on to the bat, that's why I played a couple of shots. But afterwards the ball was stopping."

New Zealand had made a good start when Gautam Gambhir, the India opener, was bowled by Jessie Ryder, the part-time medium pacer, but they were made to pay a heavy price for dropping both Sehwag and Dravid.

Jeetan Patel, the off-spinner, floored a straightforward return catch off Sehwag on 144 and Gareth Hopkins, the wicketkeeper, spilled Dravid on 28 off Ryder.

"You come here to play on their home turf and it's been a long day on the field," Ryder said.

"And it's really disappointing to drop those catches. Catches are always vital; if we had taken those the story might have been different.

"We failed to stick to our plans and the way things were going, we were expecting India to score in excess of 400 today.

"The wicket is flat, but one good session can change the course of the game.

The pitch was two-paced and a bit up and down in the end. Hopefully it looks like it will flatten out a little bit more. It shouldn't be too bad; we have to see over the next couple of days."

The visitors had some consolation in the last session of the day when they picked up the wickets of Sehwag and Dravid.

But with Sachin Tendulkar (13 not out) and VVS Laxman (seven not out) at the crease and Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, the captain, to follow, India will aim to drive home the advantage of batting first on a pitch already offering turn and inconsistent bounce.

Earlier, Dhoni had no hesitation in opting to bat first after winning the toss for the first time in nine Tests. The second Test is in Hyderabad and the third in Nagpur.

Scorecard

India, 1st innings
Gambhir b Ryder 21
Sehwag b Vettori 173
Dravid b Martin 104
Tendulkar not out 13
Laxman not out 7
Extras 5b, 2lb, 1w, 3nb 11
Total (3 wickets, 90 overs) 329
Fall of wickets: 1-60; 2-297; 3-317
Bowling: Martin 16-2-52-1; Bennett 15-2-47-0; Vettori 28-3-69-1; Ryder 10-1-44-1; Patel 13-1-79-0; Williamson 8-0-31-0