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Friday, 9 December 2011

Sehwag smashes Sachin's record, India seal series

Indore was home to two of India's greatest cricketers, CK Nayudu and Syed Mushtaq Ali. The two richly talented all-rounders were known for their fearless big-hitting that entertained Indian crowds.

How fitting was it that the most fearless of India's batsmen and the straightest of talkers — Virender Sehwag — paid rich tribute to those masters by breaking the record for the highest score in a one-day international at Indore's Holkar Stadium today.

After electing to bat against the West Indies, the Indian opener and stand-in captain made 219 off 149 balls, becoming just the second man to score a double-ton in ODIs. Sachin Tendulkar was the first in 2010, when he made 200 not out not too far from Indore in Gwalior against South Africa.

As you would expect in an innings of this nature, the West Indian bowlers threw everything they could at Sehwag to no avail. The Indian opener toyed with the field placements, picked up boundaries with ridiculous ease, prompting Chris Gayle to jocularly describe the innings as "child abuse."

Sehwag's form had been questioned after a string of casual dismissals and small scores. However, with this innings, he buried those concerns, powering India to a record 418-5, setting up a series win with a game left in Chennai. [See match scores]

West Indies at one point were in danger of being bowled out for less than Sehwag's score when their ninth wicket fell on 201. Denesh Ramdin's 96 and a last-wicket stand of 64 with Sunil Narine delayed an Indian win.

Sehwag had two big partnerships along the way: 176 with the opening wicket with Gautam Gambhir (67 at a run-a-ball) to kick off the run-fest and 140 with Suresh Raina (55 off 44) to keep the momentum strong.

The 33-year-old completed a hundred off just 69 balls and the double off just 140. He had some luck along the way. On 97, a difficult catch was put down at point as Sehwag slashed a four to get to his hundred. Later on a 170, West Indies captain Darren Sammy put down a sitter running back at extra-cover.

Sehwag completed the double hundred in just the 44th over, cutting Andre Russell for four. The shot took him to 201, beating Tendulkar's record.

Photos: Top 10 Scores in ODIs

This was Sehwag's 15th three-figure knock in one-day cricket and the first since making 175 against Bangladesh in the opening match of the World Cup in Dhaka in February this year.

Sehwag was closing in on the highest score ever in an ODI — 229 by Australian women's cricket legend Belinda Clark — when he was dismissed by Kieron Pollard, trying to hit a six over long-off.

Sehwag scored his 219 runs off just 149 balls, scoring 25 fours and seven sixes. The 32 hits to the boundary are also an ODI record.

Watch: The moment when Sehwag broke Sachin's record

Sehwag smashes double ton
India s flamboyant batsman Virender Sehwag strikes an explosive double ton in Indore.

Sehwag's innings was the third highest in all limited overs cricket. The record is still held by Alistair Brown, who had made 268 in a county game for Surrey against Glamorgan in 2002.

The only other score above Sehwag's is 222 not out by Graeme Pollock for Eastern Province against Border in 1974-75.

"I had never dreamt of doing this," Sehwag said during the innings break.

"The easy wicket and the short boundaries made it easier. I told Gauti (Gambhir) that if we showed a little patience we could get a big one. But I never expected to make a double century.

"The pitch was so true that one could play all shots. When Sammy dropped me, I knew God was with me. I am relieved but also tired because I am an old man now.

"I just want to thank my family and all those who have supported me in my career," he said.

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