Thursday, 15 November 2012

Sehwag Ton Sinks England Hopes

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Virender Sehwag's century laid the platform for India to reach 323-4 on the opening day of the Test series against England in Ahmedabad.

Sehwag hit a run-a-ball 117 and Cheteshwar Pujara finished on 98 not out as India seized the initiative after opting to bat first.

Graeme Swann took all four of the wickets to fall, removing Gautam Gambhir, Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar during the afternoon session to peg back the home side to 250-3.

Swann (4-85) added the scalp of Virat Kohli after tea on a pitch that was already showing signs of wear but Pujara and Yuvraj Singh stood firm for the remainder of the day in a fifth-wicket stand of 40.

Sehwag and opening partner Gambhir had put on 134 in 29.5 overs as England went wicketless in the morning. Sehwag brought up his half-century from 44 balls with James Anderson (0-66) and Tim Bresnan (0-56) - preferred to Monty Panesar in the starting XI - taking the most punishment.

Gambhir was bowled for 45 in the second over after lunch, Swann straightening one from round-the-wicket as the left-hander looked to play through the off-side but Sehwag continued to play his shots, bringing up his 23rd Test hundred by lofting his 16th boundary - 15 of them fours and one six.

His scoring rate slowed in the aftermath of his milestone but it was still a surprise when he misjudged a sweep against Swann and was bowled.

Tendulkar, playing in his 191st Test, received a rousing ovation on the way to the middle but his stay was a brief one, scoring 13 off 17 balls before holing out to Samit Patel at deep midwicket shortly before tea.

Kohli was dropped at slip by Jonathan Trott off Swann on four but had only advanced to 19 when he offered a crooked bat at a delivery from Swann that turned sharply to hit middle stump.

Pujara had no such problems, showing exemplary technique to combat the threat of England's bowlers for 181 balls and he was still there at the end, two short of a century, alongside Yuvraj (24no).

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