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SL v IND, 3rd Test, Day 1: CT Player of the day – Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan scored a century in the final Test of the series vs Sri Lanka. This was his 6th century of his Test career and 2nd of the current series.

Shikhar Dhawan
Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan celebrates after scoring a century. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Shikhar Dhawan scored a century yet again in the final Test of the series against the hosts Sri Lanka. This was his 6th century of his Test career and 2nd of the current series. He brought up his hundred in very quick time and hence put India ahead of the game.

Dhawan was under a lot of pressure coming into the series. He got the chance to open the innings with Abhinav Mukund in the first Test only because India’s first choice openers were missing due to injury. Dhawan and Mukund knew Rahul would be back in the second Test so that match was like a trial for them. Both of them were making a comeback into the Test team after a long time.

A successful series for Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan made the most of that opportunity and scored 190 at a brisk pace. With that innings, he booked his berth for the rest of the tour. Mukund also played well in the second innings but other opener had done enough to convince the team management that he was the right man to partner KL Rahul.

Dhawan has always done well in Asian conditions, but he has been found wanting in the conditions helpful to the fast bowlers. With India to tour South Africa at the end of the year and another regular opener, Murali Vijay set to make a comeback left-handed batsman still needed to do a lot right to book his place for that tour.

Dhawan’s brilliant partnership with KL Rahul

Dhawan needed to get some runs in the final Test to book his place in the longer format of the game. Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first. When a captain elects to bat first he hopes that he would be proven right by his openers. Dhawan and Rahul did just that, and they added 188 runs together for the first wicket.

Dhawan was the destructor in chief scoring at a strike rate of almost 100 which is very impressive. Delhi batsman brought up his century off just 107 balls and proved that his knock in the first Test was no flash in the pan. The opening batsman looked set to score a really big hundred before he was caught brilliantly by Dinesh Chandimal. The damage had already been done by then. Before being dismissed the Delhi boy had scored 119 runs off 123 balls, his innings also included 17 boundaries.

Shikhar Dhawan would be disappointed

Sri Lankan bowling was there for the taking and a huge hundred or double century could have done Dhawan’s chances of selection a world of good. Dhawan was looking fairly solid but a moment of brilliance in the field from Sri Lankan captain proved to be his undoing.

Indian opener would be very disappointed with himself as he had the chance to place India in an even better position. India looked set to reach another 600+ score till the time Dhawan was in the crease.

Mini Collapse after Dhawan’s dismissal.

India looked set to get another 600+ score when they were at 219 for the loss of just 1 wicket. But India failed to build any momentum after the dismissal of the opener. Spin pair of Sandakan and Pushpakumara kept getting wickets at regular intervals as India went from 219/1 to 322/6.

India subsequently ended the day’s play at 329/6 with Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya at the crease. India now depends on their lower order to play well and get them close to the score of around 450.

With pitch already showing signs of deteriorating, it will be very tough to bat on the pitch in the coming days. Considering the situation of the game, opening stand between Rahul and Dhawan has its worth in gold.

Considering the fact that away team doesn’t have their premier spinner Ravindra Jadeja, they need some more runs in the first innings. India now needs their lower order to fire with both bat and ball to ensure an unprecedented clean sweep.

India might need to come out to bat again in the second innings and would need its openers to fire again. Shikhar Dhawan might get another chance to impress the selectors. The opener has given team management a problem, quite a good problem to have though. The problem of plenty is better than having the problem of death.

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