Why Sehwag rates 319 vs South Africa as his best innings

Virender Sehwag reckons that his 319-run knock against the Proteas at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai was superior to the Multan triple ton.

It was some sort of a wild-card entry when Virender Sehwag, who had been dropped for the home Test series versus Pakistan in November 2007, was selected for the Tests in Australia despite not finding a place in the 24 probables. There were doubts about whether he deserved a place in the side or not. As always, Viru answered in style.

He scored a match-saving unbeaten 151 in the second innings to save the 2007-08 Adelaide Test and struck his second triple ton in Test cricket against South Africa the following year, becoming only the third player after Sir Don Bradman and Brian Lara to score two Test triple tons.

“When I was dropped from the Test squad I was hurt because I had a good record in Test cricket. So I was looking to prove to myself that I am a good Test player and deserve a place in the team. Being dropped hurt, but it was also good for me because I was able to motivate myself and concentrate better,” Sehwag revealed his mindset during the marathon knock.

“I don’t think I showed so much patience and concentration in Pakistan (where he scored 309). I will say this is my best Test innings because I made 300 and scored at more than a run a ball. I think this is better than Multan because I was scoring faster. In Multan the wicket was better than this and the conditions were not hot and humid.”

India were under pressure when South Africa smashed 540 in the first Innings in the opening Test of the 2008 tour at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. But Sehwag, who scored around 200 runs through just boundaries, changed the complexion of the match.

It was such a great knock that he offered almost no chance to any of the bowlers. There were hardly any mistimed strokes and he was beaten just a couple of times.

South Africa tried to attack, defend, tried to bowl straight lines, wide, over the wicket, round the wicket, and did everything possible, but the opener countered them in style. The moment the visitors tinkered with the field, he reverse swept or hit over square leg to force another fielding change.

After India made 627 on the back of Sehwag’s 319, the match ended in a draw.

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