Virender Sehwag provides West Indies skipper Darren a unique hat-trick
West Indies captain Darren Sammy is no more than a wicket-to-wicket bowler, who relies on defensive fields, variations and changes of pace to keep batsmen on a leash. In the process, Sammy invariably forces a batsman into an unforced error.
Off he goes: Darren Sammy (right) celebrates after sending back
Virender Sehwag on Day Three of the third Test against India at the
Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Sammy achieved two feats on Day Three of the third and final Test match here at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday as India went into stumps on 281-3. He outsmarted Sehwag yet again, nailing him for a third consecutive time, and put the brakes on Sachin Tendulkar's innings that was blossoming quickly and nearly swore to give the 20,000 odd at the venue the elusive 100th international ton.
Tendulkar, who raced along to 38 off just 57 balls until facing Sammy, scored only one more boundary for another 76 balls, and went into stumps unbeaten on 67 off 133 balls. Sammy allowed Tendulkar only 12 runs off 38 balls that included 30 dots and just the solitary boundary.
But where Sammy deserved even more credit was the way he foxed Sehwag. He came into bowl in the 11th over of the Indian innings with a strange field comprising a fly slip, backward point and a shortish third-man - waiting for Sehwag - who was served a barrage of wide balls to lose his cool.
Sammy's first two balls were as innocuous as they come. Sehwag resisted. In the third ball, Sehwag probably told himself, 'enough of this wide stuff' and lofted the ball inside-out for a massive six. Sammy continued with an even wider line, asked Carlton Baugh to come up to the stumps.
Sammy's next over to Sehwag was once again flooded with wide balls. Umpire Tony Hill had enough and called a wide. Sehwag then did what he did to Sammy in Delhi, opened the face of the bat and steered the ball to the third-man boundary despite the looming presence of first slip.
The amazing thing about Sehwag is how he counterattacks a defensive field without fear of getting out. Now, for the third and final over of the Sammy vs Sehwag showdown: The first two balls, again directed wide outside off, Sehwag pushed to cover. Then came the in-dipper from Sammy that sneaked through Sehwag's defence, struck timber. It surprised the Indian opener, who was in forward motion, perhaps expecting another wide ball. It was a classic case of playing on your opponent's mind.
"After the first Test (in Delhi), it looks like Sehwag wants to hit me out of the attack. I don't mind him playing shots. That's how he has played in his career -- bashed a few bowlers. With him playing his shots, I keep telling myself that it presents me an opportunity to get him out. So far, in the last three innings, I have done that. I am happy with that," Sammy said after close of play. On such docile pitches, the Windies skipper proved that it was vital to work your way to wickets. Hats off, Sammy.