Sehwag half-century leads solid India reply on second day

Virender Sehwag hit seven boundaries during his innings of 67 Getty Images

Melbourne: Dec 27, 2011


Virender Sehwag played some scintillating shots en route his half century as India reached 99 for two at tea, in reply to Australia’s first innings 333, on second day of the first cricket Test here today.

The dashing opener smashed a quick fire 67 before he was bowled off James Pattinson while trying to execute a cover drive without reaching to the line of the ball at the MCG.

The Indian vice-captain would rue the fact that he could not get a big score despite being let off twice on 54 and 58.

On the first occasion, it was David Warner at long on, who failed to latch onto a big hit off Nathan Lyon’s bowling and then it was Brad Haddin who needlessly dived to his right when the first slip would have easily collected the catch.

At the tea break Rahul Dravid was batting on 25 while Sachin Tendulkar was on two in pursuit of his 100th international century.

Sehwag batted for 127 minutes and faced 83 balls, hitting seven fours in the process.

Pattinson, the young tearaway quick, was earlier rattled by Sehwag’s antics and the two were involved in a verbal duel after the Indian opener pushed the fast bowler for a single.

Umpire Marais Erasmus had to step in and spoke to Sehwag.

Left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir (3) was the other batsman out as he edged a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery that kicked up and moved away, to Brad Haddin behind the stumps.

Sehwag, typically, played and missed quite often in the initial phase of his knock but also carted some bold strokes which played on to the nerves of the Australians.

Sehwag’s booming shots were not seen straightaway but he hit Patterson for a four through the covers in the fifth over to start the counter attack.

The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ then carved first-change Peter Siddle over slips which almost went to six at the third man region. He then followed it up with two consecutive fours of the fast bowler? One smashed through the covers and the second one deliberately steered through the slip cordon.

Sehwag took a fancy of off-spinner Nathan Lyon, introduced early in the innings, and twice flayed him down the ground for boundaries. The first such shot brought up his half century off 59 balls with five fours.

The Delhi opener, who completed 8,000 runs in Test cricket during his innings, then dragged a drive off Lyon which almost carried to David Warner at long-on. In the very next over, he edged Pattinson but wicketkeeper Haddin couldn’t hold on to the chance on to his right.

Just before the tea break, Pattinson again roared up in appeal for a catch to forward short leg but it was clear the ball had gone off the thigh of Sehwag.

Dravid went about his business quietly at the other end.

He began with a classy thrust off his pads to midwicket fence off Pattinson but the second one came after a while when he edged one off Peter Siddle between the slips.

Tendulkar walked in to a standing ovation from the goodish MCG crowd but nearly disappointed them when he played the part-time medium-pace of Mike Hussey uppishly and almost into the hands of short mid-wicket fielder.

The Australian pace bowlers bowled in very good area in the half an hour before tea and beat Dravid on a number of occasions. (PTI)

Brief Scores: Australia 333 (Ed Cowan 68, Ricky Ponting 62, Peter Siddle 41; Zaheer Khan 4 for 77, R Ashwin 3 for 81, Umesh Yadav 3 for 106) lead India 99 for 2(Virender Sehwag 67, Rahul Dravid 25*; James Pattinson 1 for 25, Ben Hilfenhaus 1 for 27) by 234 runs.

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