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Sehwag still belongs to 'big stage'

"I had to prove that I belong at this level and wanted to get back my place in the side," says Virendra Sehwag, who missed a year of Test cricket, after a classy 319.

cricket Updated: Mar 29, 2008 15:43 IST

He may have fallen 81 short of breaking Brian Lara's record but Virender Sehwag's career-best 319 against South Africa has helped him surpass his own milestone of the highest individual Test score by an Indian.

Sehwag looked well on course to break Lara's record of 400 after plundering 309 at better than run a ball at draw of stumps on the third day on Friday.

But 27 minutes into day four, the Delhi-dasher fell to a Makhaya Ntini delivery in the slips. But before heading back to the pavillion, Sehwag had bettered his own previous best of 309 -- against Pakistan in 2004 -- to take both the number one and two spots in the Indian record books.

The right-hander, who hit the fastest ever triple century, faced 304 balls during his 531-minute stay at the crease that also saw him hit 43 boundaries and five sixes as South Africans scurried for cover.

The opener is only the third batsman -- after Lara and Sir Don Bradman -- to have two triple hundreds under his belt.
His record-breaking innings included a 268-run second wicket stand with Rahul Dravid, who also went on to achieve a personal milestone by becoming the sixth overall and the third Indian batsman to score 10,000 runs with his 25th hundred.

For Sehwag, the innings not only got him a bagful of records, but also helped him prove that despite all the talk about his lack of technique he still belonged to the big stage.

"I had to prove that I belong at this level and wanted to get back my place in the side," he had said on Friday after initially admitting that even he had been left speechless with his display.

Sehwag missed a year of Test cricket after he was omitted from the side following the tour to South Africa in early 2007. He returned to the team for the Perth Test against Australia in January this year and justified his recall with a century in the following Test in Adelaide.