Sehwag helps India pile up 447/6

Updated on Mar 10, 2005 08:01 PM IST

Sachin was out 6 runs short of setting a record of 35 Test tons as India took a 135-run lead. Score | Replay | Player of day

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PTI | ByAshish Shukla (PTI), Mohali

Virender Sehwag continued to torment Pakistan with a blistering 173 as India took command of the first cricket Test by grinding a healthy first innings lead on Thursday.

The dashing Sehwag showed no mercy as he cracked his ninth Test century to power the hosts to an imposing 447 for six at close on the third day which saw Sachin Tendulkar (94) come agonisingly close to dethroning Sunil Gavaskar from the top position in the list of leading Test century-makers.

The Indians have already taken a significant 135-run lead with four wickets in hand and would now press for a victory in the remaining two days on a track which was expected to wear down a little.

The stylish VVS Laxman was batting on 33 and Irfan Pathan was giving him company on 1 after another satisfying day for the hosts.

The 26-year-old Sehwag stole the limelight yet again with a barrage of strokes to tilt the game in India's favour before Abdul Razzaq brought to an end his belligerence, but not before the Delhi batsman had belted 19 boundaries and two sixes.

While Sehwag went for his strokes, Tendulkar was quite content to play a supporting role as the duo stitched 118 runs for the third wicket.

But there were heart-breaking scenes at the PCA Stadium towards the end of the day when Tendulkar was dismissed just six runs short of what could have been a record 35th century. It would have made him the leading century-maker in Test history.

Tendulkar, in search of his 35th hundred and the looming 10,000-run mark, was largely the reason India couldn't make more than what they ended up with at close.

The hosts could muster a mere 263 runs from 90 overs after such a blistering start and this was an opportunity missed for India.

It must have left Sehwag a little deflated in the dressing room for his massive 173 was just the kind of innings which should have allowed India to hang Pakistan out to dry.

Ironically, Tendulkar was in peach form in his first 50 which came off 78 balls and included seven fours. His next 44 was worth a labour of 122 balls and nearly four hours.

From his half-century onwards, every next 10 runs took Tendulkar an average of 30 balls which hurt India's cause when they were looking to press on the pedal.

Tendulkar walked in to bat at 216/2 and his initial thrust suggested India would not lose momentum against a pedestrian Pakistan attack, barring Danish Kaneria.

Though Tendulkar on eight survived a huge appeal when Rudi Koertzen who negated a straightforward catch at silly point off Danish Kaneria, he looked in silken touch in his first hour in the middle.


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