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Sehwag creates history with 219 as India clinch series

Thursday, December 08, 2021

Indore: Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag on Thursday created history by scoring the highest-ever ODI score of 219 as a merciless India clinched the ODI series against West Indies with a convincing 153-run win in the fourth one-dayer to take an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Virender Sehwag (219) became the second batsman to score double century after Sachin Tendulkar as he slammed the highest ODI score to help India seal the series against West Indies. © AFP

The 33-year-old Sehwag was at his explosive best as he became only the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to reach the 200-run landmark in ODIs and propel India to their highest ever one-day total of 418 for five.

The hosts then dismissed the West Indians for 265 in 49.2 overs to wrap up the five-match series in style, rendering the fifth match in Chennai on Sunday, inconsequential. Debutant spinner Rahul Sharma was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three for 43. 

Electing to bat, it was Sehwag who took centrestage with a stunning exhibition of strokeplay as he plundered runs at will on a belter of a track at the jam-packed Holkar stadium.

Sehwag surpassed Tendulkar's 200 not out made from 147 balls against South Africa in Gwalior on February 24 last year when he square-cut Andre Russell for a boundary in the 44th over of the Indian innings to go past the 200 mark. He joined his idol Tendulkar in the record books as the only other cricketer to score double hundred in the limited overs game.

The Delhi marauder, who cracked his second three-figure knock against West Indies and 15th overall in 240 ODI matches, slammed as many as 25 fours and seven sixes during his 149-ball blitz.

He also reached his double hundred in fewer balls (in 140 balls with the help of 23 fours and six sixes) than Tendulkar, who took 147 deliveries for his unbeaten 200.

Gautam Gambhir (67) and Suresh Raina (55) were the other notable performers for India, who managed to eclipse their previous highest total of 414 for 7 against Sri Lanka at Rajkot in 2009.

Weighed down by the mammoth total, the inexperienced West Indies batting line-up were never in the running to successfully chase down the total. Save wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin, who took advantage of an attacking field to score a run-a-ball 96, the other West Indies batsmen didn't put up any resistance. In fact the last wicket pair of Ramdin and Sunil Narine (27, 33 balls, 3x4, 1x6) added 64 runs in only 10.3 overs to reduce the margin of victory.

Debutant spinner Rahul Sharma was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three for 43. © AFP

Top-order batsmen Lendl Simmons (36), Marlon Samuels (33) and all-rounder Andre Russell (29) got the starts but could not translate them into big knocks.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (3/34), debutant Sharma and part-time offie Raina (2/17) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/59) accounted for nine among the 10 wickets.

The find of IPL Sharma, who has been touring with the side for nearly past two months was preferred over Irfan Pathan, completely foxed the visiting team after Sehwag's murderous assault had already demoralised them.

With his fast leg breaks and top-spinners, 25-year-old Jalandhar-born Sharma completely mesmerised the clueless Caribbean batsmen to strike three big blows in his first three overs.

Introduced into the attack in the 12th over, he bought wickets off the last deliveries of that particular over, as well as the 14th and 16th respectively to reduce Windies to 100 for five.

The day however belonged to only Sehwag.

The Nawab of Najafgarh added 176 runs for the opening stand with Gambhir, who cracked a run-a-ball 67 studded with 11 boundaries, laid the platform for the record score and his subsequent 140-run stand for the second wicket with another left hander Raina, who made 55 in 44 balls, lifted the score past the 300 mark.

Sehwag escaped getting out twice in his masterly knock, on 20 when he escaped a run out chance after being stranded mid-pitch and then on 170 when rival captain Darren Sammy dropped an easy catch at extra cover.

The dasher – who had come into the game with unimpressive scores of 20, 26 and 0, set the tone of his bludgeoning knock with a four off his pads off Rampaul, who had dismissed him first ball at Ahmedabad and followed it with a stunning six off Kemar Roach with an upper cut.

From then on, he simply ripped apart the Windies attack with shots all around the park and the visiting team did not know how to stop the cascade of runs from his bat as well as those from Gambhir and Raina.

A six over long-on off Narine and another maximum over long-off Sammy gave ample indications of what was to be expected from the hungry batsman. He completed his 50 in style hitting his fourth six of the innings and second off Narine over long-on.

Denesh Ramdin made 96, which is the highest ODI score by a West Indies keeper. 

His fifth six was whipped off his pads over square leg boundary off Kieron Pollard.

The last couple of sixes were majestically hit -- both off Andre Russell. When the fast-medium bowler dug one short, Sehwag was in perfect position to play the pull-shot while another delivery that bounced shoulder high was sent for half a dozen with a neatly executed upper cut-shot.

Talking about Indian bowling, debutant Rahul deserves special mention.

Admitted, he had a cushion of runs and was able to attack from the start, one mustn't forget that players tend to get rusty without proper match practice as Rahul's last competitive match was Irani Trophy back in the first week of October.

His maiden wicket was Samuels, who was dismissed when the batsman leaned back to cut and dragged the ball onto the stumps.

The lanky leggie then struck in his second over by seeing the back of Hyatt, who, after being beaten twice in negotiating the bowler, had a rush of blood and stepped out for a mighty heave only to see the ball spinning through his legs and he got castled in the process.

Not to be satisfied, Sharma then cleaned up the big-hitting Kieron Pollard, who also tried to hit his way out of trouble and attempted a heave to leg only to miss connecting and losing timber to leave Sharma with superb figures of 3 for 7 in 3 overs.

Prior to his brilliant display with the ball, Rahul had played his part in the field when he threw the ball from extra cover to bowler Ravichandran Ashwin to run out left handed Powell at 13.

A 50-run stand between Simmons, who hit Ashwin with a step-out loft for a six over long on after the off-spinner started with the new ball with R Vinay Kumar, and Samuels before the opener was caught behind trying to cut left arm slow bowler Ravindra Jadeja.

Wickets fell at regular intervals even though Ramdin showed a lot of defiance.