Opener Virender Sehwag ignored an injury to smash 175 and lift India to a massive 370-4 in the opening match of the World Cup against Bangladesh on Saturday.
Out for revenge over Bangladesh for India’s five-wicket defeat in the previous World Cup which helped lead to their first stage exit, Sehwag hit his highest one-day score off 140 balls, his 14th century in ODI.
Sehwag, blasting his second World Cup century, made Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan bitterly regret his decision to bowl first on a placid wicket with 14 fours and five sixes.
He added 203 runs with Virat Kohli for the third wicket with the latter also completing a century in the final over. He finished on 100 not out off 83 balls in his World Cup debut.
The younger Kohli was still buzzing with excitement afterwards.
“The guys were really pumped for this game and we were really eager to do well. Luckily the combinations are working now and we put a total on the board and we’ll now have to defend it pretty well,” the 22-year-old told Indian television.
“He [Sehwag] was going for a double hundred and I told him ‘go for it’. He was challenging me to hit sixes because he was hitting into the stands and I was just clearing the rope. So it was a fun partnership.”
Sehwag had clearly struggled between the wicket and after he passed three figures he was given a runner, Gautam Gambhir.
Nevertheless, he had already made his intention clear when he drove paceman Shafiul Islam through cover for a boundary from the first ball of the match and completed his 50 in grand style with a six over mid-wicket off the bowling of left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak.
Bangladesh drew first blood in the game when they had Sachin Tendulkar run out for 28 following a mix-up with Sehwag.
Tendulkar had become the world’s most capped ODI player when he overtook Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya, who is not playing in this World Cup, with his 445th appearance.
Gambhir was then bowled by off-spinner Mahmudullah for a run-a-ball 39 before Shakib finally brought to an end of Sehwag’s magical innings.
The right-hander was eying the second ODI double century to date after Tendulkar’s 200 not out against South Africa last February before he dragged a full delivery off Shakib on to his stumps.
Yusuf Pathan (8) was dismissed off the final ball of the innings with an attempted hoick off Shafiul Islam which was nicked to the wicketkeeper. – Reuters
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