The entertaining Virender Sehwag's sense of humour was evident when he signalled a free-hit after Kiwi seamer Chris Martin sent down a no-ball on the opening day of the first Test here on Thursday.

The opener, who dazzled during his 173 on day one, said, "There are so many ODIs and Twenty20 games these days. After I signalled a free-hit everybody laughed. We should enjoy Test cricket also."

But then, Sehwag's blistering century was no laughing matter for the Kiwis. The opener said, "The pitch was good to bat on in the first session. The ball was coming on to the bat. Then it got a bit slower. There will be help for the spinners on this wicket."

Despite a string of strokes, Sehwag said he was circumspect (by his own standards!) in the early stages of his innings. "I wanted to survive the first hour. After that I could make a century. I also knew there would be little help for the spinners in the first session. I could take them on."

On his double century partnership with Rahul Dravid, he said, "He played his game and I played mine. He is such an experienced player. We did not have to say too many things to each other."

Sehwag felt maestro Sachin Tendulkar - batting on 13 - would not be too concerned about his record 50th Test century. "He plays every innings the same way, gives it his best. Landmarks do not bother him."

The opener had a word of sympathy for the New Zealand bowlers. "This attack is a bit inexperienced. It is not easy to bowl in these conditions against such a good batting line-up. I thought (Hamish) Bennett bowled well. He has pace and an awkward action is difficult to pick."

Sehwag also disclosed in jest that he kept track of his runs during an innings. "The scorers can make mistakes!" was his reason.

New Zealand's Jesse Ryder said, "We had our plans against Sehwag. We obviously knew that he will come out and have a go against us. At times we didn’t bowl to our plans and we let him get away. We wanted to tuck him up and not let him free his arms but we gave some width early on. That did not help us. But we did well with two quick wickets at the end of the day. If we pick up early wickets tomorrow, things could change for us."

He said the pitch was two-paced and lamented the dropped catches.


Sehwag and Dravid score contrasting centuriesNovember 4, 2010

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