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Sehwag, solid and sure

Faisal Shariff in Multan | March 29, 2004 19:30 IST
Last Updated: March 29, 2004 21:36 IST

Virender Sehwag

When Virender Sehwag walked into the dressing room at lunch on day 2 of the first Test against Pakistan, eight runs short of his triple hundred, VVS Laxman was the first to congratulate him.

"Click a picture with me now. Soon we will have to call Mathew Hayden to take a picture with you!" exclaimed Laxman.

For the last three years Laxman held the record for the highest individual Test score by an Indian following his match-winning 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens after India had followed-on.

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Team mates clicked photographs with Sehwag and congratulated him, but the dashing opener casually went about his routine. A shower was followed by light lunch and 30 minutes later he walked back to the middle to achieve what no Indian had: a triple century.

But that is Virender Sehwag for you; an exciting batsman who never wears his emotions on his sleeve.

Even last night, unbeaten on 228, he did nothing different from what he does on any playing day. Room service was followed by some calls home; a little bit of television before the lights were off in his room.

This morning, 30 minutes from start of play, he stood in the dressing room with a towel around his waist, staring at the wicket from the window, probably visualizing his tryst with destiny. There was no emotion on his face; just a blank look, the one often seen at press conferences in between a smile.

He did not have a net session this morning; just a few knocks and into the dressing room to wear his battle gear.

But you could make out that he was a touch worried. Who wouldn't be? Unlike some of his team mates who were unaware that no Indian had scored a Test triple ton, Sehwag knew very well that he was on the threshold of history.

Triple centuries don't come every day; not for someone who plays Test cricket just the way he plays one-day cricket. The man is as much an entertainer as he is a team man. He cares as much for the galleries as he does for the dressing room. And nothing epitomizes Sehwag's character better than the shot he played to reach the record-breaking milestone. It was a huge six over the head of a fielder stationed there for a catch!

No batsman in the history of Test cricket has reached a triple century with a six. Of the 17 batsmen who have scored a triple hundred only England's A Sandham played fewer Tests in his career.

Sehwag did not break the world record for the highest individual Test score, but the ovation he received from his team mates mattered more than anything as he walked back to the pavilion, tired, relieved and proud of his achievement.

Asked what he would take back for his fiancée from Pakistan, he replied: "Lots of runs."

Sure, he is keeping his promise before tying the knot.

Also read:
Most runs in boundaries | Triple-centurions
- Highest Test score for India

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