‘I was not jolted by fall of wickets’
Virender Sehwag said he was not jolted by the fall of wickets. They all got out to good balls from Murali, Mendis and Vaas, reports Anand Vasu.cricket Updated: Jul 31, 2008 23:03 IST
Virender Sehwag was the one Indian batsman not to be disturbed by rain or tired by the sun. After resuming from the break on 91, Sehwag creamed Vaas over midwicket for six and then drove a boundary handsomely back down the ground to reach his 15th Test hundred, off only 87 balls. When play ended, he was on 128 and still scoring at more than a run-a-ball. But the fall of four sharp wickets at the other end had robbed Sehwag of the chance to look back at a fine counter-attacking innings with satisfaction.
“At this point there is no satisfaction. But there's still plenty of cricket left,” said Sehwag at the end of the day's play. “If I can make this a big one, maybe score 200, and take the total to 400-500 and put the team in a good position, then I will be satisfied. Because then we can put pressure on Sri Lanka.”
While India's mini-collapse meant that honours were even at the end of the first day despite their brilliant start, Sehwag managed to keep going, and there's hope still on the second day. “I was not jolted by the fall of wickets. They all got out to good balls,” said Sehwag. "The bowling was quality, Murali, Mendis and Vaas. They're the kind of bowlers who can bowl a good ball at any time and you have to play them carefully."
Equally, Sehwag also said that it would not make sense for him to curb his natural instincts just because wickets fell at the other end. "It does look that way when you get out but I always back myself and play my shots. How can I stop that? If the ball is there to be hit I hit it," he said. "You sometimes do think, what if I play a shot and get out after four wickets have fallen, but if you don't play your shots how will you make runs?"
Sehwag also made the somewhat surprising claim that he was picking Mendis off the pitch rather than from his hand. "I was picking him off the wicket. Whenever he bowled I was seeing how the ball behaved after pitching and played him accordingly," said Sehwag, who looked at some ease against the man who had spun a web of mystery around India in the first Test.
Sehwag, who thought that "350 or 400" would be a good score on this pitch, underscored the importance of starting well, especially after the comprehensive defeat in the first Test.
"It was important for me and Gautam to give a good start and we did that. Hopefully we'll carry on like that only," he said. "We discussed these things in the meetings before this match and we were happy to be able to give a good start."