The numbers rush that Virender Sehwag unleashed on Thursday had the entire country dreaming of his third triple hundred. A world record. One better than Don Bradman and Brian Lara. 300, when viewed from the lens of the 284 he raised in one day, was imminently gettable.
But he fell seven agonizing runs short. 300 maybe bigger than the 293 he scored, but it couldn’t be more enjoyable.
“I am very happy I got at least 293 runs,” said Sehwag after the third day’s play in the final Test against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium. “I am proud of what I have achieved. Not many people have got two triple centuries and followed that with 293. So there is nothing to be disappointed about.” Sehwag’s innings came to an end on Friday morning, when he offered a leading edge to Muttiah Muralitharan. After being treated with little respect on the previous day, the off-spinner finally seemed to have got it right. Or, as Lankan coach Trevor Bayliss suggested, “Sehwag probably got out due to exhaustion.”
The India opener had suffered from back spasms on Thursday, but said it was mental rather than physical fatigue that had played a part.
Sri Lanka, who ended day three on 11 for no loss, are trailing by 322 runs but Bayliss is optimistic about this team’s chances. “We are a fair way behind. We’ve got some hard work in front of us. But the wicket is playing well and our batting has been good throughout the series.” The Sri Lanka batsmen won’t have it easy as the pitch is already wearing.
“Coming to day four and five, you expect the wicket to turn a bit more. We are good players of spin. Just because it’s turning it would not make the bowlers’ work easy. The bowlers will have to bowl well too.”
Bayliss also defended his bowlers, especially Muralitharan, saying they were unfortunate to come across Sehwag in the mood he was.
“Despite (India) being one down for 443 (at the end of yesterday’s play), they kept trying and they didn’t give anything away. This morning we kept it tight and didn’t give easy runs and took eight wickets for 240 runs. I’m happy with that.
“Murali has taken about 800 wickets. It is not the first time it’s happening to him. But he’s played long enough to know that if you keep trying the next day can be completely different.”