Hambantota, Jul 24: Virender Sehwag, who returned to ODI fold with a bang after being rested for the Asia Cup on fitness grounds, has said that it was important for him to score runs after a poor show during the tour Down Under.
"It was very important for me to score runs and provide a good start to my team. I hadn't scored runs in Australia and this innings is important for me as we will be playing a lot of Tests and ODIs," Sehwag, who came back after recovering from a shoulder injury, told the media persons on the eve of second ODI against Sri Lanka.
Though the dashing opener missed out on a century during his run-a-ball 96 which included 10 hits to the fence, said he wasn't too concerned about missing the milestone, as he wanted to contribute to the team's success and was successful in doing it.
"It's not important whether I get a big score or not but if I can give a good start and add around 50 to 100 runs for the first wicket, it helps the team. As far as my individual performance is concerned, I hope that I will score one in the next match," said the explosive right-hander.
Sehwag also said that the conditions at Hambantota would play a vital role, as players need to be careful while playing the shots. He also admitted that toss will be very crucial as both the teams would look forward to win the toss and put up a huge total on the board.
"If you get a chance to bat first, nothing like it as you can put runs on the board and the opposition team are under pressure to chase the target. But again if you see, Sangakkara scored 133 and showed that one can bat well under lights also."
Talking about a few loop holes in the team's bowling Sehwag said bowling at the death is a concern as they are giving away too many runs and all the teams are aware of the art of chasing targets even when the asking rate has crossed 10.
"Our bowlers tried hard but Sangakkara and Perera batted really well. Nowadays batsmen don't feel the pressure while chasing targets with asking rate of 8, 9 or 10. Still our bowlers were able to contain them at the end," Sehwag said.
"Sri Lanka are a very good team and they are also playing to win and won't give up without a fight. We have to learn from our mistakes, whether it's our catching or fielding in general or bowling line and length."
Though his 96 was fantastic, it wasn't a quick-fire one as Sehwag's innings usually ensures a blistering knock, he maintained saying it was the first ODI after his return from injury.
"It depends on wickets, the conditions. It's the first game of the season and one needs to take his own time, study the behaviour of the wicket.
When asked about his plans ahead of the second one day international against Sri Lanka to be held at Hambantota on Tuesday afternoon, said "The target would be to keep a run-rate of five per over till the 30th over and take it from there on".
"We have some quality middle-order batsmen who can make full use of the third Powerplay (batting). It's important not to lose too many wickets with 20 overs remaining," the opener explained.
With the second ODI to be played at Hambantota this afternoon, can Virender Sehwag make it count with a wonderful ton and ensure another victory for the visitors?