Virender Sehwag gave fellow opener and Delhi batsman Gautam Gambhir high praise soon after the left-hander had spearheaded India’s campaign to save the Napier Test, calling him the ‘Second Wall’ of Indian cricket.
“I think Gautam played the innings of his lifetime,” Sehwag said of Gambhir, who batted 642 minutes and faced 436 deliveries in making a doughty 137. “Not many players have batted for almost 11 hours. He is the one who saved the game for us. We can call him the Second Wall of the Indian team.”
What of the original Wall, Rahul Dravid? “We still have him, no one can replace him,” he shot back.
The stand-in captain also said that at no stage were the Indians worried about saving this match. “We have done that a couple of times — against Australia in 2001, and in Adelaide in 2004 when we won the game. We were very sure we have players who can bat two days — V.V.S. Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Gautam, Sachin Tendulkar. The dressing-room atmosphere was fantastic, no one thought we would lose the game. That’s why we were enjoying ourselves.
“In the last seven months, we have won every single Test series. We are getting used to this, we are playing good cricket and backing ourselves. It doesn’t matter what situation we are in, we just go and play our game. We are not bothered about the situation, conditions, wicket.”
Asked about India’s first innings batting, Sehwag said, “It can happen. When the opposition makes 600, you feel it is a very good batting wicket, I can’t make mistakes and I can play my shots. Sometimes you can be dismissed because of overconfidence. Some of our batsmen who had got fifties and were set got out. There wasn’t a batsman who was dismissed by a good ball, everyone fell to bad balls. But we showed a lot of determination in the second innings”.
Sehwag also joined Daniel Vettori in hoping for a pitch with a bit more in it for the bowlers in the final Test. “If we get a helpful pitch at Wellington — our bowlers are in very good form, they are doing well in New Zealand — it will be beneficial for us.”