AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Live Blog: Sehwag, Dravid score hundreds on Day 1

3.43 pm: Only Vettori was able to keep Sehwag under check today. Of the 66 balls he bowled to him, Sehwag scored 30, with three fours. The idea was to bowl on or just outside off-stump. Chris Martin and Hamish Bennett pitched too short or too full too often, and got punished.

The most punishment was reserved for Jeetan Patel. The Test Match Sofa guys described Patel's challenge to the Indian line-up as being similar to a mosquito trying to eat an elephant. And here's why.

Sehwag took 45 runs off him in 31 balls. And even Dravid, who'd been struggling with a strike rate under 20, managed to take 33 runs off 42 from Patel, whose First Class bowling average this season is 72. It would be hard for him to make an impression in this series.

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3.31 pm: Hundred No. 30 for Rahul Dravid. There's been an incredible turnaround for him today. His first 20 took 105 balls. The last 81 have come in just 110.

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3.20 pm: Sehwag's gone. This was expected. Playing back to cut Vettori, he has chopped on. He was batting with a runner. Vettori is the only bowler who's looked like taking a wicket today. There's no celebration. The Kiwi skipper claps a few times. Sehwag walks back chatting with his runner Gambhir.

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2.53 pm: Dravid's somehow managed to get hit on the temple by a 120kmph bouncer from Bennett. He's getting treatment. Meanwhile, Gambhir is out running for Sehwag, who has just been dropped on the midwicket fence by Martin Guptill, on as a substitute fielder.

This hasn't been a good day for New Zealand. Plenty of mistimed shots from Sehwag have landed short of fielders. The second wicket partnership is over 200 now.

Sehwag has the runner because he seems to have a sore back. This might have an effect on the length of this innings.

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2.04 pm: Tea is around the corner. Dravid's finally picked up the pace. Cutting Jeetan Patel to the cover boundary, he's brought up his 60th Test fifty, off 151 balls.

Shortly afterward, Sehwag completes his 150, the 14th time he's done it in Tests. The Kiwis don't look like they'll get him. He can only give his wicket away. He's nearly holed out to long-on, with a loft falling just short of Bennett. He's set for a double hundred before end of play.

But is it too early to speak of a triple?

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1.22 pm: Dravid's batting on 20 from 105 balls. This isn't the pitch, conditions or the bowling attack that should evoke a performance like that.

Meanwhile, the young guns who'd won India the Bangalore Test — Murali Vijay and Che Pujara — would be wondering why they didn't get to play this game.

Meanwhile, Sehwag has just launched Kane Williamson into the stands over long-on. He's had some luck in this innings. Vettori has managed to induce a couple of mistimed lofts out of him. In the 49th over, one went to mid-off's hands on the bounce.

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Noon session: And Sehwag has brought up his 22nd Test hundred, thumping Vettori over mid-off for four. Hamish Bennett has been bowling a poor line and has drifted down the leg far too often.

Dravid has been playing from memory and with the edge of his bat. His last 53 balls have produced five runs. Sehwag's hundred has come from 111 balls with 17 fours. How many more will he get today?

Sehwag has overtaken Sourav Ganguly's tally of 7212 Test runs. Ahead of him are Laxman, Gavaskar, Dravid and Tendulkar.

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So, a few interesting things happened in the first session of the Ahmedabad Test. MS Dhoni has finally won a toss. He’d lost eight in a row this year, and one more would have equalled Sunil Gavaskar’s record.

Secondly, Hamish Bennett banged a ball halfway in the fourth over. Virender Sehwag let it whoosh past his chest, and Gareth Hopkins collected it near his shins. And Daniel Vettori brought himself on in the eighth over.

Motera seems a different place from 2009, when India were 32-4 in the first hour against Sri Lanka, or in 2008 when they were bowled out in the first session against South Africa. No such luck for the off-colour Kiwis. It’s about 31 degrees in the middle. Sehwag has smashed a quick fifty. And there’s no life in the track.

Thirdly, Gautam Gambhir. I had argued on this blog last week that the off-colour left-hander may not be the best option for the series, especially given Murali Vijay’s performance against Australia.

Many of you had commented that the form player should be persisted with. Of course, this isn't a slur on Gambhir; he's a terrific act, but has had an ordinary year.

Gambhir nearly played on the first ball of the game. While Sehwag blazed away in the first hour, Gambhir was tentative, heavy-footed. In the end, he gave away his wicket to a part-time seamer.

The ball landed on off, seamed in slightly. A straight bat should have been offered. Instead, the ball took the inside edge of the slanted wood on to the stumps.

Coming back to Sehwag: he nearly reached a hundred in the first session. How many do you think he’s going to get in this innings? Post away, comments are open.

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