Virender Sehwag smashed the highest score in One-Day International (ODI) cricket last night – an epic 219 off just 149 balls – as West Indies crashed to a series-defeat, losing the match by 153 runs, despite Dinesh Ramdin’s valiant run-a-ball 96.
The 33-year-old joined compatriot Sachin Tendulkar as the only batsmen to hit double-centuries in the 50-over format when he passed 200 in the 44th over in Indore.
Sehwag surpassed Tendulkar’s 200 when, on 197, he cut Andre Russell to the point fence for his 23rd boundary.
The Delhi batsman hit 25 boundaries and seven sixes before he was caught in the deep off Kieron Pollard in the 47th over.
Sehwag’s blitz helped India pile up their highest ODI total of 418 for five, surpassing the 414 for seven they made against Sri Lanka in Rajkot in 2009.
It was Sehwag’s 15th three-figure knock in ODIs and the first since making 175 against Bangladesh in the opening match of the World Cup in Dhaka earlier this year.
Sehwag, who is leading India in the series in the absence of the rested MS Dhoni, had managed just 46 runs in the previous three matches.
He was dropped on 170 by West Indies captain Darren Sammy and put on 176 for the opening wicket with Gautam Gambhir (67) and 140 for the second with Suresh Raina (55).
Pitch made it easy: Sehwag
“I had never dreamt of doing this,” said Sehwag. “The easy pitch and the short boundaries made it easier. I told Gauti (Gambhir) that if we showed a little patience we could get a big one. But I never expected to make a double century.
“The pitch was so true that one could play all shots. When Sammy dropped me, I knew God was with me. I am relieved but also tired because I am an old man now. I just want to thank my family and all those who have supported me in my career.”
Sehwag also has two triple Test centuries to his credit, one of only four batsmen to achieve the feat.
Earlier, in reply to India’s highest ODI total, 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 wicket-keeper Ramdin’s defiant knock.
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 ODI century.
The final match of the series will be played in Chennai on Sunday.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2011.