Pakistan 679-7 Dec India 403-0: Sehwag and Dravid carry India close to record partnership

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The Independent Online

Virender Sehwag raced to an unbeaten 247 on the fourth day of the first Test against Pakistan here yesterday to leave India on the verge of recording the highest opening partnership in Test history. The captain Rahul Dravid is 128 not out but that innings has been overshadowed by Sehwag, who hit the bulk of the runs as India finished the day on 403 without loss.

Sehwag reached his 247 off 240 balls, in the process hitting the second-fastest double century in history - off just 182 balls - and hitting 45 fours and one six.

With Pakistan having set 679 for 7 declared and India still in their first innings, a draw is inevitable, but the final day will be interesting as a number of records are at stake. India's first-wicket partnership is just 10 runs short of the record set by compatriots Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy against New Zealand in 1955/56 at Chennai. Sehwag will hope to surpass his previous highest score of 309, and he could set his sights on Brian Lara's Test record of 400 not out.

Pakistan's bowlers endured a difficult day, with Rana Naved suffering most. He did have Sehwag dropped, though, when he was on 199. Shoaib Malik floored a difficult low chance at third man as Sehwag cut Naved for a four to bring up his 200. He also survived a caught-behind appeal against the leg-spinner Danish Kaneria when he went to reverse sweep and appeared to glove the ball.

Despite his fine knock, Sehwag was critical of the wicket. "It is the prerogative of the home side to prepare the pitch," he said. "We are ready to play on any wicket but such wickets are not good for cricket."

* Adam Gilchrist has been reported to the ICC for arguing with the umpire over a run-out involving the South African batsman Boeta Dippenaar during Australia's one-day defeat on Sunday. He follows team-mates Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath, who have been charged this winter for code of conduct breaches.

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