Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by Ryan Harris for 25 in the first innings © Getty Images
Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by Ryan Harris for 25 in the first innings © Getty Images

India will, in all likeliness, be chasing 364 against Australia at Adelaide Oval in the first Test on Day Five. While a win is all but out of equation for India, their batsmen can certainly garner confidence by scoring important runs. It is also a golden opportunity for Shikhar Dhawan to support his cause. Devarchit Varma has more…

Shikhar Dhawan’s personality promises a lot of bravado: the bulging, tattooed biceps; the well-maintained moustache; the aggressive on-field attitude; and a lean and fit physique that has somewhat become a norm in the present generation of cricketers. While Dhawan’s persona is certainly one of a hard cricketer, his overseas performances with the bat, especially in Test cricket, are not in accordance with what the cricketer actually desires to be.

Dhawan was involved in an on-field verbal spat with David Warner on Day Four of the ongoing Adelaide Test. While we all know Warner is someone who would not hold back when it comes to having a word or two, there is actually nothing wrong about it either. Aggression is a common trait among many cricketers and Warner and Dhawan are no exceptions.

However, Warner serves himself well by scoring runs, whereas Dhawan’s lack of runs leaves him in a state of trouble. If he continues to flop overseas, the Australians would certainly like to bring it up on the field while the Indian opener is in action. Dhawan would certainly not like to deal with additional on-field pressure. It is also imperative that a big knock comes from him soon.

On-field aggression is fine as long as batsmen continue to score runs and bowlers continue to take wickets. But lack of runs or wickets can come back to haunt, especially when one is playing in tough conditions. It may also leave some mental scars.

The track at Adelaide Oval does not have demons in it. It is still perfect for batting. The Australian bowlers will come hard on India in order to push for win, as Mitchell Johnson’s pace and Nathan Lyon’s exploits on this track are the possible dangers in front of India on the final day. But looking at the way the batsmen have gone about their jobs in the game so far, application and concentration would be the key and runs will certainly start flowing.

India produced a fine batting performance in the first essay and they are expected to continue the good show in the second innings as well. For the 12th time in their history, their top seven batsmen have scored 25 or more, which is certainly a positive point for India. Among these seven, only three failed to go past the 50-run mark, but they nevertheless spent enough time in the middle. Even Dhawan had a decent knock, though he was unlucky to get an inside edge off Ryan Harris in the first innings after facing 24 balls.

Dhawan had struggled in England because of the movement, but that is not going to be the case in Australia. There is movement, but not early on with the new ball and definitely not to the extent that prevails in England. The touring batsmen face troubles adjusting to the pace and extra bounce, combined with the aggression of the Australian bowlers. Dhawan can do better by looking to spend time in the middle and not go for his shots. Taking a leaf out of Virat Kohli’s book, looking at how the skipper batted in the first innings, curbing down the aggression and trying to middle almost every stroke, can probably help Dhawan.

It is also important for Dhawan to turn the tide because the tour now moves on to The Gabba – a venue where scoring runs is a lot different than at Adelaide. India need the real Dhawan to stand up, as it is only going to get tougher hereon.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)