MOHALI (India): Opener Virender Sehwag hit a chancy 95 not out to lead India’s strong response against Pakistan on a rain-hit second day of the first Test yesterday.
The Delhi opener, dropped on 15 and 82, punished Pakistan’s inexperienced pace bowlers to be on the verge of his ninth Test hundred.
India were 184 for one wicket in reply to Pakistan’s first innings 312 all out when play was called off due to bad light, the final session having been played with the stadium lights on.
Rahul Dravid was 39 not out, having added 71 runs for the second wicket with Sehwag.
Play was delayed until one hour before tea due to a steady drizzle since morning.
Sehwag, 26, played a typically rapid knock to quickly snatch the initiative, guiding India to 67 for no loss in the 11 overs bowled before tea.
He attacked new ball bowlers Mohammad Sami and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan to complete a run-a-ball fifty. He has so far hit 12 fours and a six in his 121-ball innings.
Sehwag shared in a 113-run opening partnership off just 109 balls with Delhi team mate Gautam Gambhir, who made 41.
Pakistan appear set to rue the big chance that got away.
Sehwag, who began with a flurry of fours against Rana, edged a short ball from Sami to the third slip, where Taufeeq Umar juggled and dropped an easy chance to the dismay of his teammates.
He was again dropped on 82, edging a drive against leg spinner Danish Kaneria to slip fielder Younis Khan, who dropped a head high chance to his left.
It appeared to be a replay of last year’s Multan Test, when Sehwag hit a match-winning 309 after he was dropped before reaching his century.
India went on to complete their maiden Test series victory in Pakistan, eventually winnings 2-1.
Sehwag took those blemishes in his stride to light up the proceedings on a gloomy day.
He went after Sami after the early let off, punching him past cover and flicking him to midwicket for fours before slashing Rana over third man for six.
The bowlers quickly lost their rhythm as Gambhir opened up at the other end, steering Sami to third man and then driving third seamer Abdul Razzaq through cover for fours.
Kaneria struck with his first delivery after tea by dismissing Gambhir. He hit seven fours in his 46-ball effort. – Reuters