Virender Sehwag toyed with the South African bowling attack all through the entire third day’s play to score his second triple hundred. He has now joined an Elite Club which only had two members before – Sir Don Bradman and the great Brian Lara. These two greats along with Sehwag are the only batsmen in Test History to have scored the maximum number of triple hundreds, which is two. History got repeated for Viru, four years ago on this same date of March 28, he had conquered Multan with 309. And today, he got the same number of runs and is still unconquered. This triple hundred which had come in 278 balls is the fastest ever in terms of balls faced.
India as a result of the stunning display from Sehwag got to a formidable looking 468 for just the loss of one wicket! They are now just 72 runs short of South Africa’s 540. With still four good batsmen yet to bat, India have every chance to pile up a huge first innings total which would put immense pressure on SA during their second innings. A number of records were broken at Chepauk today. This was the first time in Test History that a player has been involved in two double century partnerships in the same innings. Sehwag had put on 213 with fellow opener Jaffer and then shared an unbeaten 255-run stand with Dravid. This innings of 309 from Viru has already broken the record of the highest Test Score ever in India. It was also the third fastest double century coming in 194 balls, following his own 182 balls one scored in Lahore in 2005-06. The fastest ever double century for the record is 153 balls by Nathan Astle which was against England in 2001-02.
Both Sehwag and Jaffer were extremely confident about themselves having put on 82 on the board yesterday. The pace trio of Steyn, Ntini and Morkel failed to make the inroads yet again and eventually ran out of fuel under the hot sun. Morne Morkel was the only bowler coming close to get a wicket but he was only able to trouble Wasim Jaffer. Sehwag on the other hand was totally dominating right from the first ball. His intimidating shots were enough to rattle the bowlers. Even the very good deliveries disappeared to the ropes which gave the South Africans no clues whatsoever. Sehwag first reached his hundred with the help of a couple of lofted shots for boundaries off Kallis. At lunch, India got to 176 for no loss in 46 overs. In the afternoon session, the tourists finally had a little joy when Wasim Jaffer attempted a lazy drive off left arm spinner Paul Harris to be caught in the slip. Jaffer made 73 in 166 balls with 6 fours and a six and got out only in the 53rd over.
Rahul Dravid, who had waited all the 53 overs in the dressing room with his pads on got into his groove without any trouble. He played his natural game of playing according to the merit of the ball despite Virender Sehwag stealing the entire limelight with his daredevil strokeplay. Deliveries which were being blocked by Dravid were getting smashed around the park by Sehwag. The only time Sehwag was close at getting out was when he appeared to have got a big top edge in a pick up shot off Ntini when on 193. But that shot most shockingly sailed into the stands for a six. Sehwag maintained his heroics of playing the big shots to get closer to his milestones. At Tea, India raced away to 309 for 1 in just 70 overs.
The final session which was an extended one had more trouble in store for the South Africans. Sehwag continued from where he had left in the last session. Within no time, he got to his 250 and then got to his second triple hundred just a few minutes before the close of play. India finished on a high at 468 for 1 in 106 overs. Rahul Dravid got his 65 (with fours) in 181 balls but still the Indian run rate was a brilliant 4.41! It was all because of the unbeaten 309 from 292 balls (with 41 fours and 5 sixes) from Sehwag. All the South African bowlers took the caning from Sehwag. Graeme Smith didn’t even dare to take the second new ball. Left arm Spinner Paul Harris tried his best in sticking to a legstump line, targeting the rough by bowling from over the sticks. He still got picked for plenty of runs by a number of reverse sweeps and inside out shots from Sehwag.
Virender Sehwag now has a realistic chance of beating Brian Lara’s record score of 400 not out. He will up against the second new ball tomorrow morning. Most Cricket fans would be hoping that Virender Sehwag does break the Lara record. Of course, it still is a lot of hard work to get the remaining 91 runs!
Breakdown of Sehwag’s milestones in this innings
50 in 59 balls with 6 fours and a six
100 in 116 balls with 15 fours and a six
150 in 171 balls with 23 fours and a six
200 in 194 balls with 32 fours and 2 sixes
250 in 225 balls with 38 fours and 3 sixes
300 in 278 balls with 41 fours and 5 sixes