Legendary Sri Lanka off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan recalled what Virender Shewag had told him after missing out on a triple hundred in India vs Sri Lanka Test match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 2009. Muralitharan said Sehwag had told him that he shouldn't have listened to Rahul Dravid and instead gone after him to complete his triple century.
"I remember he was batting on 290 against us in Mumbai and I think it was Dravid who told him to hang on as he can get to his 300 the next day. The next morning, he tried to tap it but got out caught and bowled and told me 'I should have never listened to Rahul and instead gone after you'," Murali told ESPNCricinfo.
It was the third Test of the series between India and Sri Lanka. After Sri Lanka were bowled out for 393 in the first innings, Sehwag led India's reply. The dashing opener was unbeaten on 283 at stumps on Day 2 with Dravid for company. The anticipation was that Sehwag would get to his third triple ton quickly on Day 3 but he was out for 293 while trying to take a single off Muralitharan.
Notably, Sehwag had completed his maiden triple hundred in Multan in 2004 with a six off Saqlain Mushtaq and was known for going for the big shots to complete his milestones.
Murali heaped praise on Sehwag and said he could read what the off-spinner was bowling.
"Sehwag could understand and read what I was bowling. He says he didn't read me but what I can say is that he played me in a different manner (than the rest). He was very dangerous. I've said this many times," he added.
"For Sehwag, I would keep fielders because I knew he will take a chance. He thinks, on his day he can attack and take on anybody in the world. So, we would try and set a defensive field and wait for him to make a mistake and give us his wicket. But Sehwag's attitude was like 'I will give myself 2 hours and score 150 runs. If I bat the entire day, I will score 300.' So he might get out after lunch but by then he would have scored more than a hundred runs. Most of the batsmen batting on 98-99 would look to complete the century by taking singles but Sehwag will go for a six. Sehwag didn't care whether he got a century or not. He just went for his shots," Murali, who has more than 1300 international wickets, said.
Sehwag retired from international cricket after scoring 8586 runs at an average of 49.34 in 104 Tests, 8273 runs in 251 ODIs, and 394 runs in 19 T20Is.