As India need 381 more runs, with nine wickets in hand, to win on the fifth and final day of the first Test against England here, it won’t be surprising if the Indian camp would dig out the video of India’s famous six-wicket win against the same opponents in 2008, made memorable by Virender Sehwag’s swashbuckling 68-ball 83 that set up play on the fifth and final day.
Chasing a target of 420, India on Monday lost Rohit Sharma (12) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here. Shubman Gill (15) and Cheteshwar Pujara (12) are at the crease.
In 2008, the Kevin Pietersen-led England had set India a target of 387 in the fourth innings. Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir gave the team a rousing start with their 117-run opening-wicket stand. Gambhir (66 off 139 balls) took a backseat and let his senior partner take the opponents by the scruff of their neck.
Having endured a poor 2007, Sehwag looked hungry for runs. He was in his element as he smashed the England bowling attack, comprising Steve Harmison, James Anderson, Monty Panesar, Andrew Flintoff, and Graeme Swann, to smithereens.
Panesar and Swann bore the brunt of Indian batsmen as they conceded 105 and 103 runs respectively.
Sehwag, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, hammered 11 boundaries and four sixes in an innings in which he scored his runs at a breathtaking strike rate of 122.06. By the time he got out to Swann while attempting a paddle sweep across the line of the ball, England’s morale was completely shattered.
Then, after a rare Rahul Dravid failure, Sachin Tendulkar picked the gauntlet and carved out a superb 196-ball 103 not out and ensured that he was at the crease when India scored the winning runs. In fact, it was Tendulkar who scored the winning runs, hitting Swann for a boundary.
From that England bowling attack, Anderson has survived and in the Indian team Ishant Sharma, who had bagged four wickets in that match, was witness to the remarkable win.
On the fifth and final day on Tuesday, Anderson’s mind would surely go back to December 2008. He had a poor match, taking just two wickets, and might have revenge on his mind.
Ishant, on the other, would perhaps recall the events of December 15, 2008, in the team meeting on Tuesday morning to motivate his teammates as they look to score 381 on a crumbling pitch.