I was concentrating on a big knock, says Sehwag

Published: Sunday, October 19, 2003, 0:26 [IST]
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Mohali: Virender Sehwag had promised ahead of the Test series against New Zealand to remodel his batting to occupy the crease for a longer time. The Delhi batsman did keep his promise with a scintillating unbeaten 128 in the second Test against New Zealand, making a more conscious effort with his shot selection. "I was concentrating to make a big score. I was more conscious to avoid the rash strokes this time around. I am happy that my efforts paid dividends," Sehwag said after the match. Sehwag, often criticised for throwing away his wicket after getting the starts, struck an unbeaten 128 to steer India to a healthy 203 for one at close on the third day of the series-deciding second cricket Test against New Zealand.

Sehwag was also involved in a rollicking 164-run opening partnership with statemate Akash Chopra to give a solid start to the Indian run chase. "I had planned to play the whole day. I tried to avoid those balls outside the off stump or play any risky shots on the off side," he said. Sehwag said the first priority for the Indian team is to avoid the follow-on which he felt would not be a very difficult task considering that the track had not offered anything to the bowlers yet with only seven wickets falling in three days of play. "There is no pressure on us as such.

It is still a good batting wicket," Sehwag said, adding that he felt slightly nervous in the 90s. Sehwag said the Mohali track has been very slow and wanted the curators to prepare tracks that would favour the spinners. "We should have spin tracks. That is our strength and not flat and hard. We should play to our strength," he said. Asked how the opening combination was working out, the Delhi player said: "Aakash (Chopra) and I play for Delhi. We have a very good understanding as we have played lot of Ranji matches together. Technically he is very correct".

On whether he had become extra cautious while negotiating left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, the 24-year-old Sehwag said "he was bowling a good line and length and was giving little room to play shots freely. I think any bowler who bowls such a tight line should be given respect". The bespectacled Vettori returned with impressive figures of 24-14-27-0 on the third day on Saturday. Asked whether his side was surprised with the timing of the New Zealand declaration, he said "We were not surprised really. They must have planned it out and it obviously looked they did not want to bat for a second time."

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