When he steps on the Wankhede Stadium on Friday, it will mark a very special occasion for Virender Sehwag.
He will complete a century of Tests, a feat achieved by only eight other Indians. Not all of Sehwag’s Tests have come for India though. His tally includes one Test for ICC World XI in the Super Test against Australia at Sydney in October 2005, where he scored 76 and 7.
Sehwag started his career as a middle-order batsman. He came into bat at number 6 against South Africa at Bloemfontein on his debut and scored 105 off 173 balls.
He batted in the middle-order in next four Tests before opening the innings for the first time against England at Lord’s in 2002.
Since then, Sehwag has always opened the innings for India, excepting two occasions (v New Zealand at Hamilton in December 2002 where he batted at number 7 and v Pakistan at Karachi in 2006 where he came into bat one down).
The following table gives the break-up of Sehwag’s Test career in each 25 Test segment. Despite all the talks about dip in his form in recent times, he is still averaging a respectable 45+ in the latest phase of his career.
Where does Sehwag stand among Indian greats? Different people will have different opinions on this, but figures tell us that only Rahul Dravid had a higher run-tally than Sehwag at the end of 99th match.
Sehwag’s average of 51.72 is the highest by an Indian opener and the second highest in all Test cricket for any player who has opened for his country in 100 innings or more.
Sehwag’s career strike-rate of 82.45 (runs per 100 balls) is the second best by a batsman in Test cricket history. Only Pakistan’ Shahid Afridi has scored at a faster rate.
Pakistan have been Sehwag’s favourite opponents. In his first outing against Pakistan, Sehwag scored a mammoth 309- then the highest score by an Indian batsman. He has managed three more hundreds against Pakistan thereafter – all big hundreds. In all he has aggregated 1276 runs at an average of 91.14 in 9 Tests against Pakistan. His batting average is the second highest among all batsmen playing 10 innings against Pakistan.
If Sehwag manages to score a century at Mumbai, he will be the first Indian to do so in his 100th Test. VVS Laxman’s 64 is the highest score by Indian in his 100th Test.