Sehwag refuses to blame the pitch for Indian show

“A lot of them were called soft dismissals -- like Gautam’s run out, like my getting out,” the Indian opener said on Monday. “It’s not as if the wicket is bad. It’s a good wicket to bat on, maybe keeping a bit low. But nobody got out because of the wicket.”

India collapsed sensationally from 89 without loss to 209, handing the West Indies a 95-run first-innings lead. “It happens in Test cricket. When you play on a wicket that is good to bat on and you have got a good start... Suddenly Gautam got run out and then I got out, then Tendulkar and Laxman -- all soft dismissals.

“When one wicket falls, you sometimes lose concentration and you get out and then it is not easy for the new batsmen coming in. They don’t know much about the bounce, how much reverse swing there is, it will take them some time to get used to it. But our middle-order is more experienced than other teams’, so they know what to do. When they come to bat in the second innings, I am sure they will do a good job.”

Sehwag was dismissed stumped, carelessly lifting his right leg off the ground after missing a paddle-pull off Devendra Bishoo. “I got out in silly fashion, it was my mistake,” conceded Sehwag, who made 55 in what was a comeback match of sorts. “I felt very good, I was batting well and timing it well. I was hoping to convert my fifty into a century. Hopefully, in the next two matches, I will score one hundred at least.”

The West Indies lead by 116 with eight second-innings wickets left, but Sehwag said the game was very much in the balance. “It’s not as if the wicket is very bad for batting. Even now, it is good for batting but to score runs is not very easy when the ball is reversing or keeping low. If tomorrow we can get them out quickly, then I will say we perhaps have the upper hand.”

Darren Sammy had said a little earlier that his side wanted to set India a target in the region of 400.

“We thought we would make a thousand runs in the first innings!” Sehwag countered. “But to say it and to do it are two different things. Our job is to restrict them because the sooner we get them out, the lesser will be our target. We will try to get them out for 100 or 150.”

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