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Sehwag does not regret missing 200

Virender Sehwag may have narrowly missed a chance to score his first-ever double century but the Indian opener said he had no regrets.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 00:38 IST

Virender Sehwag was not disappointed at missing out on his first-ever double century in the third Test against Australia, saying he had never curbed his natural attacking instincts to achieve personal milestones.

When in 190s Sehwag tried to loft Simon Katich twice and succeeded the first time when the ball sailed over the rops but was out in the next ball.

Referring to the shot that claimed his wicket, Sehwag said, "It was a full-toss and was there asking to be hit. It was a loose ball and I always go for a loose ball. I played my natural attacking game.

"Even today I had planned to go after the loose balls irrespective of whether I was on 0, 99 or 199," Sehwag said rating his 195-run knock on Friday as his "best innings".

"It was my best innings. How many openers come to Australia and score as big as I did today," said the right-handed batsman whose career-best knock was studded with 25 fours and five sixes.

Sehwag said he was unfazed despite being hit hard on the helmet twice by express bowler Brett Lee.

"Actually after being hit on the helmet, it kind of improved my concentration and confidence. I am happy I was able to show solid defensive technique."

Sehwag and his opening partner Aakash Chopra were under instruction from the team management to last out the first hour and play a watchful game.

"The wicket was damp and slow in the morning. The ball was not coming on to the bat and so we decided to play defensive cricket. We thought if we could play defensively in the first hour, we could start playing our shots gradually and then open out. It went exactly the way we planned," Sehwag said.

Sehwag, who smashed the second delivery he received from Stuart MacGill over long off for a six and followed it up with two more sixes against the leg-spinner, said his assault on the bowler was not planned.

"I play my game. If the ball is there to be hit I hit it. I had not planned to go after MacGill. I am comfortable with my technique. I shuffle and make room on my off-stump because I feel if I don't do that I will not be able to hit the ball."

Sehwag was full of praise for his opening partner Akash Chopra with whom he put on 141 runs for the first wicket.

"Chopra is the best partner I have played with in Tests. Even though I have never opened with him in domestic cricket, I know he has run up some big scores in recent times. He has improved his technique a lot in recent times."

Sehwag was extremely appreciative of Chopra's guts to stick it out in the middle after being hit on the helmet by Nathan Bracken early in the innings.

"He did not want to go off the field although he was having concussions. We called (Andrew) Leipus because we wanted to consult him whether Chopra should continue or not.

"I just told Chopra to play as long as he could and only when it was impossible for him to bat on, we would ask a replacement to come in."

"I will give credit to him that despite feeling drowsy and heavy in the body, he stayed there and contributed 48 well-made runs," Sehwag said.

On his mix-up with Chopra at the start of the innings, he said, "there was a little bit of misunderstanding. Usually when we take runs off a shot we tell each other we would go for two or three.

"But (Steve) Waugh collected the ball well and I asked Chopra to wait. Probably he did not hear me so there was a misunderstanding. But fortunately we survived.

"We then decided that unless the ball clears the fielder we will not run for it. And we must wait if we want to sonvet our single into a double or three.

Sehwag said it was imperative from the team's point of view that VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly stayed put tomorrow and help India raise a big total.

"We are in a good position today but the first hour tomorrow is important. If Laxman and Ganguly play well, we would maintain our good position."

First Published: Dec 26, 2003 15:04 IST