Virender Sehwag celebrates scoring a double century and his world record one-day score against West Indies in Indore. AP Photo
When Sachin Tendulkar conquered the Mount 200 - the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest for a batsman in ODI cricket - a little over 21 months ago, experts called it a once-in-a-lifetime-achievement.
They were wrong!
Virender Sehwag, who has often spoken about Tendulkar being his role model, and imitated his shot-making early in his career, smashed a one-day record 219 to help India amass a record 418 for five - their highest total in ODIs - during the fourth ODI against the West Indies on Thursday.
Sehwag became only the second player to score a double century in ODIs, making it an exclusive Indian club. Although Sehwag failed to remain unbeaten like his hero, when he was eventually dismissed in the 47th over, he had surpassed Tendulkar's highest individual score by 19 runs.
No wonder then when the blazing innings finally came to an end — with Sehwag mistiming his attempt to clear the field off Kieron Pollard to offer substitute Anthony Martin a regulation catch yards inside the long-off fence — instead of heading towards the bowler or the fielder for celebrating the wicket, every West Indies player ran to the India skipper to congratulate him.
After all, most of the 149 balls he faced were hit as hard as Sehwag usually does. While 25 of those raced to the fence all around the park, seven cleared the boundary rope.
Sehwag, who perhaps came to Indore in a desperate need for a big score after three successive failures, with the tour of Australia looming large, would thank rival number Darren Sammy no end. Not just because the West Indies captain didn't shake Sehwag's hands after losing his seventh successive toss in India, since that would have egged on Sehwag to punish the Windies bowlers but for giving him a life when he was on 170.
Making most of the dropped chance
In the 38th over, when Sehwag mistimed his lofted stroke over mid-off, off Ravi Rampaul, in a bid to cross his highest individual score of 175 coming into the match with a six. Sehwag could connect the ball only with the lower portion of the bat and the ball went straight into the air. Sammy ran a few yards backwards and had set himself up nicely to accept the catch. But that wasn't to be.
As it has happened with the Windies captain time and again during the series, the ball bounced into his palms and lobbed out.
Sehwag thanked his counterpart by pointing his bat to Sammy, grinning broadly as the 28,000 fans packed into the Holkar Stadium heaved a sigh of relief.
The moment that was keenly awaited by fans in the cricket world came off the third ball of the 44th over when Sehwag cut Andre Russell for a boundary through point. The entire stadium burst into a roar. Not only did he cross his fifty and his century with boundaries, he also crossed the landmark in the same manner.
In a coincidence, both ODI double centuries have been scored in Madhya Pradesh, Tendulkar having notched the feat in Gwalior against South Africa.