India cricket legends Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid on this day fifteen years ago played one of their best knocks in Test cricket. The duo had then shared a 410-run opening stand in Lahore, a moment which later saw the crowd give them an standing ovation.
The partnership between the two still remains as the third highest opening stand in the longer format of the game.
The incredible feat achievd by India's most decorated batsmen came in the first Test of the series. Dravid, despite not being a regular opener, scored 128 from 233 balls, while Sehwag entertained the crowd with his swashbuckling batting style as he scored 254 from 247 deliveries.
The pair, which almost broke the record for highest opening stand in Tests then, fell shy of three runs as the final day of the contest was mostly hindered by weather and visiblity issues and only 14 deliveries could be bowled throughout the day.
The highest opening stand in Tests was then held by India's Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy, who had added 413 runs for the first wicket against New Zealand in 1956.
The match ended in a draw, but Sehwag made sure he breached the 250-run mark before he lost his wicket. Dravid, however, remained unbeaten and was joined by VVS Laxman who only got to face a single ball before the match ended.
Sehwag later revealed he was not aware about the world record being in their grasp. “The world record really doesn’t matter,” Sehwag told ESPNCricinfo later. “I didn’t know we were close to the record until I came back to the dressing-room.”
As for Dravid, who had the best seat in the house for one of the best Test innings ever played, said: “I enjoyed the partnership, but we’ll have to see on what happens in 3-4 days’ time to see who opens. I don’t think it’s a long-term solution. We have to try and see to pick a side to win a game.”
When asked about on Sehwag’s shot selection, when the pair was just three runs away from breaking a 50-year-old record, the former India skipper said: “Veeru plays that way – attacking and positive. He played a similar shot to get from 199 to 200. Lot of times, when people get out, it looks like why did they play that shot .. but when he’s on song there is some exceptional batting.”
However, Sehwag did go on to tumble several records during the course of his innings. His 254 off 247 balls was the highest ever Test score at over a run-a-ball. His 200 in 182 balls was the second-fastest double century in Tests, after Nathan Astle, whose achieved the same feat against England in 2001-02 in 153 balls.
Dravid and Sehwag also overtook Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs' 368-run opening stand, which was till then the highest partnership between an opening pair against Pakistan.
The partnership between Sehwag and Dravid was then the tenth highest partnership for any wicket in Test cricket.