Virender Sehwag Photo

Boxing Day Special: The sensation called Virender Sehwag

What would you call a batsman, who tries hitting a six when on 195 on the opening day of a Test match, and that too when a fielder has been placed in the deep? Maverick, overconfident or plain silly? Well, you will call him Virender Sehwag. The former India opener, who is now out of favour with the selectors, smashed a quite remarkable hundred on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test in 2003. As India head into yet another boxing day series, trying hard to make some sort of an impact on the series, it is an apt time to look back at how Virender Sehwag ruled the day on the special occasion 11 years ago.

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Above photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 26: Virender Sehwag of India in action during day one of the Boxing Day 3rd Test between Australia and India at the MCG on December 26, 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Watch Video Highlights of Virender Sehwag 195 vs Australia 2003 MCG youtube original

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag

For those who watched the day’s play, the memories would be profound. India had just tasted success at Adelaide, their first victory in Australia after two decades. As such, the confidence in the Indian camp was on an all-time high. It is with this positive mindset that Sehwag stepped out to bat. And, what an innings he came up with. Going out to open the innings, he was dismissed in the 79th over, having batted for over 300 minutes during which he faced 233 balls and smashed 25 fours and five sixes. There were strokes all round the ground, as Sehwag handled the spinners as well as the pacers with ease.

In the pre-Sehwag era, India were not used to quick starts. But, all that changed with the emergence of the swashbuckling opener. It wasn’t a surprise that Sehwag came close to registering a double hundred much before the end of the day’s play. Also, India crossed 300 in a day, without much trouble. It was an indication of how dominant Virender Sehwag was in the match. The opening partnership between Sehwag and Aakash Chopra was worth 141 and the second wicket added 137. Chopra and Dravid’s contributions ended in the 40s. It was only after Sehwag was dismissed that the Indian innings crumbled and the entire team folded up for 366.

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Above photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 26: Virender Sehwag of India in action during day one of the Boxing Day 3rd Test between Australia and India at the MCG on December 26, 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

There were mixed reactions as to how Virender Sehwag was dismissed at Melbourne, particular in view of the fact that India went on to lose the Test in spite of his sensational innings. Some felt, Sehwag ought to have shown some maturity knowing well that the fielder was there when he hit that aerial stroke. But, at the same time, it must be remembered that it is how Sehwag tasted all his success in international cricket. Had Sehwag dispatched the ball over the boundary, and had smashed another big double hundreds, the critics would only have had praise for him. It is unfair to criticise Sehwag for his mode of dismissal that day. In fact, it was only due to him that India had some say in the match. None of the others made any kind of contribution with either bat or ball. It was Sehwag and only Sehwag, who kept India alive at Melbourne.

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