Agence France Presse

Bangalore, March 26:

Virender Sehwag yet again proved to be Pakistan’s nightmare as he hammered a robust 201 to help India avoid a follow-on in the third and final Test here today. The free-stroking opener’s double-century enabled the hosts to post 379-6 at stumps on the third day in reply to Pakistan’s massive first-innings total of 570. Sehwag smashed two sixes and 28 fours off 262 balls in a magnificent display of stroke-making on a batting track to reduce the Pakistani bowlers and fielders to a state of helplessness. Sehwag became the fastest Indian to complete 3,000 Test runs during his 10th three-figure knock in 55 innings, surpassing former captain Mohammad Azharuddin (64). India were in trouble for a brief spell when they lost in-form Rahul Dravid (22) and Sachin Tendulkar (41) in the afternoon session, still needing 114 more runs with seven wickets in hand to avoid the follow-on.

The hosts were just 34 short of the follow-on target of 371 when Sehwag departed, offering an easy return catch to Kaneria (3-97). India then lost out-of-form skipper Sourav Ganguly (1), who was stumped off Kaneria only a ball after he was dropped by Younis Khan at silly-point. India required 28 to make Pakistan bat again with the last five wickets in hand, but Venkatsai Laxman (51 not out) saw to it with his sensible knock that Sehwag’s brilliant effort did not go waste. India’s total owed much of its substance to Sehwag, who put on 98 for the opening wicket with Gautam Gambhir (24), 74 for the next with Dravid, 85 for the third with Tendulkar and 80 for the fourth with Laxman.