Asia Cup: Hong Kong keep India to 285 after Shikhar Dhawan century
Shikhar Dhawan scored his 14th ODI century. (Getty Images)

Putting behind the horrors of a forgettable England tour, Shikhar Dhawan struck a fine century in India’s opening game of the Asia Cup against Hong Kong. Dhawan’s 14th one-day century, along with a half-century by Ambati Rayudu, set India up for a massive total, but a disciplined piece of bowling from Hong Kong spinners in the final ten overs kept India to 285/7.

From 240/2 in 40.3 overs, India lost plot after Dhawan’s dismissal. In the next two overs, Hong Kong chipped away with the wickets of MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. Dhoni out leg before without scoring and Karthik missing out to convert a start that got him 33 runs. Between overs 40 and 50, Hong Kong conceded just 48 runs, and despite Kedar Jadhav holding fort at one end, India failed to breach the 300-run margin, a total that looked very much within reach when Dhawan and Rayudu were batting.

India were motoring along with Dhawan and Rayudu putting 116 runs for the second wicket, and the rate at which they were scoring runs, even 350 looked a possibility. They did extremely well to deal with the slow nature of the surface, especially when Rohit Sharma had departed early for 23 having struck four boundaries. Dhawan took his time before playing his shots, and so did Rayudu. Once they went past the 20-over mark, the shots came out.

Dhawan was back at his flamboyant best striking the ball all around the wicket. He played the sweep with a lot of authority, and was severe on the spinners by dancing down the wicket and taking them for runs in the V. It was fittingly the sweep towards deep extra cover that brought up his three-figure score. With Dhawan keeping the scoreboard ticking, Rayudu was comfortable biding his time, although he took identified the loose deliveries on offer to hammer two sixes off Nadeem Ahmed and Ehsan Khan. Rayudu brought up his seventh half-century before feathering one to the wicketkeeper.

His dismissal however had no bearing on the scoring rate with Dhawan and Karthik forging a 79-run stand. Dhawan went into overdrive post his century but it was his bid to up the scoring rate, that he fell, top edging the ball to backward point. That is when Hong Kong pulled things back and kept chipping away. Kinchit Shah was the most successful bowler finishing with 3/39 from nine overs, all coming in the death. Jadhav was restricted in his approach with wickets falling at the other end, despite striking a six early in his innings.