Home > Features > Moments in history >

Shikhar Dhawan announces his arrival with an innings of 187 on Test debut

Shikhar Dhawan raises his arms after completing his ton on Test debut. This became his signature style after completing his tons which he kept scoring throughout 2013 © PTI
Shikhar Dhawan raises his arms after completing his ton on Test debut. This became his signature style after completing his tons which he kept scoring throughout 2013 © PTI

On March 16, 2013, Shikhar Dhawan announced his arrival by smashing 185 in one day against Australia. On Test debut, Dhawan replaced Virender Sehwag and smashed the fastest ton for a debutant. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks back at Dhawan’s remarkable knock.

When Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag were in top form, they dominated world cricket and sparked India’s rise to the No 1 spot in the Test rankings. In putting up those opening stands, they were dominant, with Sehwag redefining the top slot in Test cricket. However, in the aftermath of the 2011 World Cup, India sped down a slippery slope and were humiliated overseas. The once dominant opening stand was now struggling, cutting a sorry picture. Thus, when Australia arrived in early 2013, India braced for a change and axed Gautam Gambhir. It was a sign of things to come.

Meanwhile, India clung on to hope with Sehwag, for he could get back anytime. However, his experiment with the spectacles failed and after two poor Tests, India took the brave move of blooding in his statemate Shikhar Dhawan for the third Test at Mohali. In a matter of three games, India had two new openers. While Murali Vijay had proved his mettle with a ton at Hyderabad, there was some skepticism when the left-handed Dhawan walked in. But, what unfolded was sheer carnage.

The Test was to begin on March 14, but Day One was washed out due to rain. On Day Two, Australia won the toss and chose to bat, amassing 273 for seven. Early on March 16 i.e. Day Three, Mitchell Starc smashed 99 to power Australia to 408. A team that was trailing 0-2 in the series was showing some spike after all. Amidst some interest, Dhawan and Vijay walked out to bat.

Dhawan took strike to Starc and pushed his second delivery to the off-side for a single to get off the mark. Two years ago, in October 2010, he was bowled for a duck on One-Day International (ODI) against the same opposition. Certainly, he didn’t want the same fate in the whites. Vijay came across to congratulate him. Two years ago, he was at the other end when Dhawan lost his stumps to Clint McKay in the first over.

Getting the first run was a huge sense of relief for Dhawan. In the next over, he pushed Peter Siddle past cover for a four. There was timing and good footwork on that one. With that confidence, Dhawan was ready to pounce on any opportunity. When any bowler pitched it short, he was in position and would smash it with the horizontal bat. Starc found that out when he tried to get it near his chin! For sometime, that was the script. If it was overpitched, he drove it with all grace and if it was short, he pulled with conviction. There was an edge when he attempted a drive, but with his stars in place, it went through the slip cordon.

And, to show that there were more strokes in his repertoire, he charged against Moises Henriques and merely pushed him through the covers. India had raced to 50 in quick time; Vijay was a spectator at the other end watching his junior partner take charge. The pacers weren’t doing their job. Michael Clarke decided to take some pace off the ball and brought Xavier Doherty in. Dhawan was in the mood and it didn’t matter who came on. There was a short cover and a mid-off, yet he drove Doherty with precision between that gap. On 49, he drove Nathan Lyon down the ground and the both the fielders, from mid-on and mid-off put in their drives, but the timing was just too good. India were on 70 — 53 of those came off Dhawan’s blazing willow! It had taken him only 50 balls to get to the milestone.

Now, Dhawan set his sights on the next milestone. It went past in a daze; Clarke would vouch for that. Charging to the spinners, driving the pacers, Dhawan motored along. Then, he also unleashed his cheeky side. Doherty was reverse-swept very fine for four. And he was later swept as well, just to exhibit his range. But, the shots that stood out were those he smacked through the off-side. Clarke had men placed close in and on the boundary. Doherty was perplexed, Dhawan was unstoppable. With the trademark push of Starc, Dhawan entered the 90s.

On 94, Dhawan flayed at an overpitched delivery from Siddle, but it only flew through the slips. Phil Hughes had dived across from gully, and couldn’t quite get his palms around it. Then on 99, he defended one from Siddle towards the off-side and sprinted across even as the fielder came in. The fielder darted it towards the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Dhawan put in a desperate dive as he made it to his ton. Immediately, he got up and put his arms in the air with the helmet and bat raised high. Little did he realize that the ball had gone through for five overthrows! By getting to his ton off 85 balls, he had become the fastest centurion on Test debut. India were 148 for no loss then; Vijay went unnoticed at the other end although he had smashed Lyon for two sixes earlier.

After his ton, Dhawan continued his charge, although he did slow town, only marginally! He got his first six by dancing down the track to Lyon and lofting him over his head for six. He moved to his 150 off 131 deliveries, continuing to pull and drive with ease. Now, he was also placing a few behind point. That carnage continued through to the end of day’s play as Dhawan finished on 185. Interestingly, he played out the last over. Vijay had quietly worked his way to 83 as India ended the day on 283 for no loss. A star was born they said! Sehwag’s successor had shown the same fearlessness in his strokeplay.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Moeen Ali: Would love to open for England again

Sourav Ganguly: I don’t see any change in captaincy till World Cup

Sachin Tendulkar played with tissues in underwear in ICC World Cup 2003

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here