Birmingham, Aug 13: After England had screwed India into the ground with a grossly overwhelming 710/7, thanks largely to the career-best onslaught of home batsman Alastair Cook's 294... it was time for Virender Sehwag to show what he was made of.
The dashing Indian opener whose bat has a reputation of morphing into a missile-launcher, was all set to make amends for his first-ball duck in the previous innings. As he swaggered out to the middle, imaginary bugles rented the air amidst the blare of cheers, the green transformed into the proverbial red carpet... and Sehwag was set to take the bull by the horns.
The intent was red hot, but the technique to back it up was stone cold. With his eye on the boundary and his feet in cement, he drove lustfully, but recklessly at an out-swinger from English new-ball bowler James Anderson. With caution thrown so irresponsibly and one would daresay insanely, to the wind, Sehwag had bitten into the bait wholeheartedly.
A thick edge ensued and a simple catch at first slip followed as the English crowed erupted into voluble rapture, a sound countered by a prolonged groan from the Indian section of spectators. The Nizam of Najafgarh had completed one of the most ignominious acts of bad batting - he had bagged a king pair.
India were 3/1 at that stage, trailing England by a enormous 483 with now 9 wickets in hand... and no hint of gritty counter-offence to look forward to, just another slip downward into the swamp of humiliation.
Sehwag's glistening Test average of 53-plus and his fiery strike rate of 81 and his highest individual score of 319 and his long array of accolades and feats.. had amounted to naught as he set India on its way to likely defeat...