Sehwag and Gambhir sizzle at Mohali
Virender Sehwag, splendidly backed up by Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid, lit up a grey Mohali afternoon with some iridescent strokeplay as India produced a mockery of circumstances that appeared to become tailormade for swing bowling. A persistent drizzle set in prior to the scheduled 10am begin, and 215 minutes of play had been lost prior to the players lastly emerged at two.20. Sehwag, who savaged the Pakistani bowling towards the tune of 309 at Multan final March, carried on to 95 in a lot exactly the same style, taking heavy toll on an attack that, using the exception of Danish Kaneria, seldom looked Test-class.
As at Multan, Pakistan had been as soon as once more co-conspirators in their very own downfall, with Taufeeq Umar dropping a pretty simple opportunity at third slip when Sehwag had produced just 15. Then, with play winding down, Younis Khan exhibited comparable butterfingers initially slip, permitting India to finish the day on 184 for 1, just 128 in arrears.
With no Shoaib Akhtar to intimidate the batsmen with sheer pace, the tone for the innings was set within the opening seconds, when Gambhir nudged Mohammad Sami’s initial delivery down towards the third-man fence. In the other finish, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan beat Sehwag having a beauty initial up. It was as great because it would get for him, and also the fusillade of shots that followed had Inzamam-ul-Haq shaking his head in bemusement.
Although Naved was bowling to a 7-2 off-side field, Sehwag got in to the groove with two contemptuous swats previous point, forcing Inzamam to station a deep third man in only the fourth more than. And following Taufeeq had failed to latch on towards the face-high opportunity off Sami, Pakistan’s discomfort was exacerbated by a delightful cover-drive that streaked towards the boundary.
Twelve months ago, 1 from the highlights of Sehwag’s devastating knock had been a few whiplash sixes more than third man off Shoaib. This time, the bowler was various, however the outcome was extremely a lot exactly the same as a brief and wide delivery from Naved was sent soaring more than the fence at deep backward point.
Gambhir began circumspectly, and was fortunate to survive when an attempted pull off Sami just flew more than the head of Kaneria at midwicket. Nevertheless, there was absolutely nothing fortuitous concerning the scintillating cover-drive that followed. Using the 50 getting come up in just eight.three overs, Inzamam was forced to shield his new-ball pairing from a additional shellacking. You could not be as well harsh on either Sami or Naved, who pitched the ball up frequently in an work to create it swing, only to locate it disappearing quickly within the path from the rope.
Abdul Razzaq came on within the tenth more than, and Kaneria instantly following as Pakistan searched to get a method to stem the torrent of runs. Kaneria was offered the friendliest of greetings by Gambhir, who sauntered down the pitch and slammed the ball down towards the long-on boundary.
When the umpires known as for tea, it should happen to be music to Pakistani ears, respite following an hour of carnage. But there was no Getafix magic potion waiting for them within the dressing-room. When the players re-emerged, Sami was spanked for 3 fours in an more than, with Gambhir displaying that he was much more than some stodgy foil for Sehwag. Using the hapless bowlers feeding him outdoors off stump, he laced some magical drives square from the wicket, because the one hundred came up in just 15.five overs.
Sehwag had taken just 49 balls for his half-century, and he carried on in helterskelter mode, dismissing Razzaq having a reduce, a sublime cover-drive along with a scorching straight shot within the exact same more than. And with Sami’s profligate second spell of 3 overs getting price 26 runs, Inzamam had no option but to revert to Kaneria. It proved an inspired move, with Gambhir, who had strolled to 41 from just 46 balls, tonking the very first delivery he faced straight to Naved at mid-on (113 for 1).
If that was a shard of light creeping via, then the door was resolutely shut by Dravid, who eased off the mark having a excellent reduce for 4 off Kaneria. Although Kaneria troubled each batsmen periodically with his variations and also the quantity of revolutions he was in a position to impart with his whippy action, he wasn’t constant sufficient to provoke undue introspection. There would invariably be the rank poor ball, and nearly with out fail, Dravid and Sehwag would smack it towards the fence.
Each batsmen discovered the gaps within the field with ease, and whilst Dravid enthralled the spectators with some beautiful flicks via midwicket, Sehwag was content material to go into cruise manage within the final hour. It was Kaneria who pushed open the lone window of chance, enticing Sehwag – on 82 in the time – into an impetuous drive, but Younis initially slip fluffed a regulation catch to his left. It was that kind of day for Pakistan, each day when strains of “Come back, Shoaib, all is forgiven” might be heard in the event you bothered to listen difficult sufficient.
Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of supplies having a view to following within the footsteps of his literary heroes. Rather, he wound up in the Totally free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics prior to Gentleman gave him a column known as Replay. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell had been his early cricketing heroes, although attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous outcomes. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to possess watched reside the two greatest comebacks in sporting history – India against invincible Australia in the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool’s inc-RED-ible resurrection within the 2005 Champions’ League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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