Nagpur, Nov 9 (UNI) Virender Sehwag cracked a half century and along with his opening partner Murli Vijay put on 98 runs for the unbeaten opening wicket stand as India tightened its grib on the fourth and last Test match against Australia at lunch on the the penultimate day here today.
India had progressed to 98 runs for no loss with Sehwag unbeaten on 59, while his partner Murli Vijay was giving him company having made 37 runs at the lunch break. India who have a 86 run first innings lead are thus 198 runs ahead with all their second innings wickets in hand.
India are leading 1-0 in this four-Test series and Australia have to win this Test to square the series and to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Starting the day on zero for no loss, Sehwag made his intentions clear right at the beginning with a cover driven boundary of Mitchell Johnson. Vijay then took on Brett Lee, who was bowling inspite of suffering from a stomach ailment, slashing him through the slip cordon for a boundary.
Sehwag then took on Lee hitting him for two gloroius consecutive boundaries as Australian captain Ricky Ponting went on the defensive employing a 7-2 off-side field for the pacers, while he had a more conventional field for off spinner Jason Krejza who was brought on in the day's 11th over in a bid to try and break the partnership.
However, both Murli Vijay and Virender Sehwag did not give time for Krejza to settle as Vijay used the square cut and late cuts to telling effects, while Sehwag used the slog sweep to force the off spinner, who had taken eight wickets in his debut innings in the first innings, not to setttle down to a nice rhythm and bowl flatter.
Sehwag reached his half century with a slog sweep to the midwicket fence which came after facing 78 balls and was inclusive of six boundaries.
Australian captain Ponting tried to stop the boundaries, but Sehwag and Vijay played real smart cricket hitting the ball into the empty gaps and running hard between the wickets to slowly and surely take India to a position from where they can dictate to the Aussies.
Infact the Indian batsmen went after Krejza with a vengeance and today in his eight overs he had given away 46 runs to hand over the advantage to the home side.
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