Rajkot: Indian opener Virender Sehwag described his match-winning blistering 102-ball 146 in the first ODI against Sri Lanka as his best knock in one-day internationals.
“It is my best knock in one-day internationals. It is better than the 130 I made earlier,” the Delhi dasher said in the post-match press conference after India beat Sri Lanka by three runs.
Sehwag was all praise for the pitch which produced 825 runs and said it also had something for the bowlers as was shown by Indian bowlers Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan to stop the surging Lanka at 411 for eight.
“One-day cricket is a batsman’s game. It was a very good one-day wicket. Yet Ashish Nehra bowled 28 to 30 yorkers in his last five overs and Zaheer also bowled a lot of yorkers. That helped us win in the end,” said the opener who struck 17 fours and six sixes.
“When Tendulkar and I were batting we thought we could reach 350 as the wicket was that good. But then when I and MS Dhoni got together to raise the 300 in the 32nd over we felt we could get 400,” he said.
When asked about the turning point of the match, Sehwag said, “The twin dismissals of Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan during the batting power play made the difference. When they were batting so well it looked like we may lose the match.
It was their dismissals that turned the match in our favor,” admitted Sehwag.
Sehwag said his batting effort would not have been enough for his side to win as the Lankans almost chased down the huge total.
“I could not have won the match alone. It was a team effort,” he declared.
A modest Sehwag also did not agree to suggestions that his batting was as destructive as that of West Indian legend Vivian Richards.
“I don’t think I am anywhere near Sachin or Vivian Richards. It’s you, media people who are making this up,” he said.
He also felt that though the Indian fielders dropped a few catches initially, it was the fine fielding effort at the end that took them home.
“We have dropped a lot of catches in the T20 and also dropped a few here. But later we realized that we need to focus on fielding well. We affected run-outs and fielded very well which contributed a lot to the victory,” Sehwag said.
India affected three run-outs during the Lankan chase and took whatever came to hand after dropping a few catches, in the beginning, to give lives to Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, and Upul Tharanga.
Sehwag did not think that his side erred on the timing of taking Powerplays.
“It was a team decision and we took the right decision. Sometimes it clicks and on others, it does not.”