Superstitious Sehwag supported Lanka in Rajkot thriller!

While the entire country was praying for India's victory in Tuesday's see-saw series opener, Virender Sehwag said he was actually supporting Sri Lanka.

updated: December 15, 2009 14:09 IST
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While the entire country was praying for India's victory in Tuesday's see-saw series opener, Man of the Match Virender Sehwag said he was actually supporting Sri Lanka in the high-scoring humdinger.

"I was not tense at all because I was supporting Sri Lanka," Sehwag said after India staved off Sri Lanka's spirited response to eke out a narrow three-run win.

"I've this superstition that whenever I support India, we lose. So I was supporting Sri Lanka here and was never tense," explained Sehwag, who hammered a 102-ball 146 with 17 fours and six sixes in it.

In reply to India's highest ODI total of 414 for seven, Sri Lanka were going steady at 401 for five in 48 overs before they lost the plot and could not score the 11 runs required from the last over.

On his personal form, Sehwag said he was trying to bring his ODI record at par with his Test batting and was ready to show restraint early in his innings before going berserk.

"I am in good form. I scored 200 in Tests, 50 in Twenty20 and was telling myself I am in good form I have to utilise it.

"I knew I have to be careful in the first 10-15 overs and then it would be my day when I can score 100 or more.

"I have been scoring big centuries in Test matches but was getting out for 40s and 50s in ODIs. I thought it's time to convert those starts into big knocks," he explained.

Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar added 153 runs inside 20 overs to give India a flying start and the Delhi dasher said he initially felt the team would settle for the 350-mark.

"When Sachin and I were batting, we thought the pitch is good and we can easily cruise to 350. Then MS (Dhoni, who struck a 53-ball 72) really batted well and took the pressure off me by clearing the ropes now and then," Sehwag said.

With Tillakaratne Dilshan (160), Upul Tharanga (67) and Kumar Sangakkara (90) leading Sri Lanka's reply, fortune often fluctuated and even Dhoni, often called 'Mr Cool' for his unflappable nature, felt it was getting tense.

"It's quite tough to be cool when you score 400 and almost lose it," Dhoni said.

"In the first 35 overs, we were not really up to the mark. Maybe we just accepted that the wicket had got better or maybe we were not focussed. But the way we bowled and fielded after that, was awesome. Also we could have scored 450, which would have been an 'above-par' score," he said.

India's continuous sloppy fielding, however, piqued Dhoni, who did not hide his anger at India's butter-finger fielders.

"If you don't take catches from set batsmen you are going to be in trouble. On tracks like this, when you actually need to take those 50-50 chances, you just cannot afford to drop catches from set batsman. If you drop someone like Sehwag or Dilshan or Sangakkara, you are going to be in trouble," Dhoni said.

His opposite number Sangakkara said it was a heartbreak but conceded India played slightly better to be on the winning side.

"It is actually worse when you come this close and lose and rather than lose easily. Most of the time you can roll over and die chasing over 400, but we almost made it.

"After 35 overs, we should have batted smartly. India held their nerve better than us. At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge that India played better than us -slightly," he said, promising to come down hard on the host in the next match.