Shikhar Dhawan scored 90 © AFP
Shikhar Dhawan scored 90 © AFP

Shikhar Dhawan answered his critics in style. With his place in the side at stake — according to Sunil Gavaskar, that is — Dhawan anchored India’s innings against Sri Lanka in Match 1 of Nidahas Trophy 2018. He and Manish Pandey accounted for 127 runs out of India’s 174 for 5 after India were off to a poor start, losing Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina in a span of 2 overs. Rohit fell to Dushmantha Chameera playing on the rise, while Raina was bowled by Nuwan Pradeep. Raina’s dismissal was ugly in particular given his shot selection against full toss.

Dhawan and Pandey brought some stability to the innings. Dhawan in particular stoked some elegant looking boundaries. Pandey, on the other hand looked fidgety early on. The pair added 50 runs in 39 balls, the landmark coming with a monstrous six by Dhawan. Dhawan soon reached his fifth T20I half-century in 30 deliveries. Trying to up the ante, Pandey fell to Jeevan Mendis on 37 after adding 95 for the third wicket.

Rishabh Pant came out at No. 5 ahead of Dinesh Karthik. He looked absolutely out of form, in stark contrast with Dhawan, his Delhi teammate. Dhawan continued to smoke sixes in the death overs. His blitz came to an end on 90, Kusal Perera taking a neat catch at long on.

Then Karthik, who with his unorthodox batting, made 13 valuable 13. Pant did manage to hit a boundary in the last over but fell for 23. India’s innings closed on 174 for 5.

Chameera was best bowler for Sri Lanka claiming 2 for 33. Pradeep, Jeevan Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka picked one wicket apiece.

Earlier, Vijay Shankar was handed his India debut cap by Ravi Shastri just minutes before the toss.

Brief Scores:

India 174 for 5 (Shikhar Dhawan 90, Manish Pandey 37; Dusmantha Chameera 2 for 33) vs Sri Lanka