Sehwag the Unbelievable

Over the week end, Virender Sehwag joined a very elite club: Those batsmen that have made not one, but two Test triple centuries. Now let’s see… Already in the club are Bradman, Lara and I reckon that’s about it.

Sehwag bettered his previous best by 10 runs but he did it in style. The 300 came off just 278 balls – that’s the fastest 300 ever. Well, measured by balls faced at any rate. We have that funny situation where they didn’t accurately record balls faced in the good old days (the over rates were so good, the poor old scorers could not keep up) so there are records measured by balls faced and minutes elapsed.

This match between South Africa (540 & 2/216) and India (627) may be a high scoring affair but don’t let that cool your enthusiasm. Sehwag’s effort was extraordinary. When he departed, India’s score was 2/481 – he had scored 66% of the runs. By the end of India’s innings, he could still take the credit for 51% of the total. Tendulkar managed a duck. Dravid tried to kill the South Africans with boredom. He needed 291 balls for his 111. That means that with his 13 extra balls (he faced 13 more than Dravid), Sehwag knocked up 208 runs. What a strike rate!! I know it’s a bit silly but you get the point.

The question is, why was he left on the shelf by the Indian selectors for so long? He doesn’t go by the nick name of “Slats” for nothing. Consulting Sehwag’s listing on the trusty HowzStat site (http://www.earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/cgi-bin/hsumm?-a+02478), I see that Sehwag was left out for just over a year. That is before he was recalled half way through the Australian series – too late as it turned out. He looked the goods immediately and saved the Indians’ hides in Adelaide with 63 and a sensational 151. And now, just one test later he has notched up another classic. What a star.

Briefly, in other business, Stephen Fleming has finished his Test career on the wrong end of the stick. New Zealand lost the last two Tests to drop the series 1-2. That’s right, England have won a series. Fleming made 59 & 66 in typical rear guard actions in the final Test. Fleming played 111 Tests, 80 of those being as captain. He scored over 7000 runs and twice topped 250. More importantly, he consistently brought the best out of his team and is a main contender for the best captain of the modern era. He also made some pretty funny Rexona ads.

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