Virender Sehwag smashed the highest score in one-day cricket on Thursday as India flattened the West Indies by 153 runs to take a decisive 3-1 lead in the five-match series. Sehwag hammered a scintillating 219 off 149 balls to lift India to their best one-day total of 418-5, before the West Indies were bowled out for 265 in the fourth international. Debutant leg-spinner Rahul Sharma picked up three wickets in his first three overs as the tourists were outplayed despite a defiant 96 from wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Ramdin put on 64 for the last wicket with Sunil Narine (27 not out) before he was caught in the deep attempting to score his maiden one-day century. Sehwag plundered 25 boundaries and seven sixes during his 149-ball blitz, joining compatriot Sachin Tendulkar as the only batsmen in history to score double-centuries in the 50-over format. Sehwag moved past Tendulkar’s 200 not out — against South Africa in Gwalior last year — in the 44th over when, on 197, he cut Andre Russell to the point fence.
He was finally dismissed in the 47th over when he was caught in the deep off Kieron Pollard and was clapped off the field by the entire West Indies team and some 30,000 jubilant home fans. Sehwag’s blistering knock helped India surpass their previous highest one-day total of 414-7 against Sri Lanka in Rajkot in 2009. It was Sehwag’s 15th three-figure knock in one-day cricket and the first since making 175 against Bangladesh in the opening match of the World Cup in Dhaka in February this year. Sehwag, who is captaining India in the series in the absence of the rested Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had managed just 46 runs in the previous three matches. But he found the right conditions on the run-laden pitch at the Holkar stadium in Indore to strike form ahead of the Test series in Australia starting later this month. Sehwag, who was dropped on 170 by West Indies captain Darren Sammy in the covers, put on 176 for the first wicket with Gautam Gambhir (67) and 140 for the second with Suresh Raina (55). Left-hander Gambhir, who had scored 16 runs in the series, broke the shackles to hit 11 boundaries in his run-a-ball innings during the rollicking opening stand. The West Indies suffered a blow before the start when star batsman Darren Bravo was ruled out of the must-win game due to a hamstring strain. Bravo was replaced by Kieran Powell. The final match will be played in Chennai on Sunday.
What the greats say
“I am very happy for Viru. It is even more satisfying that an Indian has broken my record.”
Sachin, the only other batsman to have hit an ODI double-ton to date
“Well I did watch some of that innings by Viru… Brilliant striking!! Congrats on your 219… That’s child abuse! [As] The Mask would say, Smoking!”
Chris Gayle on Twitter
“I say it again! I never saw Sir Viv bat but I’ve seen Sehwag bat! What a player, 219 in a one day game is next to impossible!”
Yuvraj Singh on Twitter
“If you are a cricket fan, please switch your TV’s on right now and watch a genius bat… Sehwag destroying the WI… World record coming…”
Kevin Pietersen on Twitter
“Wow, Test match tomorrow but am still up watching Virender Sehwag score, hopefully, 200. Unreal, and he does [get the] highest ever. Well done mate.”
David Warner on Twitter
“When Viv Richards retired I thought it was end of entertainment. But then came Sehwag, the King of entertainment! Long live the King!!”
Ramiz Raja on Twitter
“Sehwag, the greatest slaughterer of bowling since IVA Richards.”
Derek Pringle, cricket writer
Inshaahh Alhhaa, Al zafkir, al tabig, karabi jharabi. bidim dido kal arabi.
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