Shikhar Dhawan celebrated his return to the Indian cricket team with a superb, attacking hundred on the opening day of the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium on Wednesday.
The left-handed opener toyed with the Sri Lankan bowling attack as he raced to his century in just 110 balls with the help of 16 fours.
Batting on 64 at lunch, he moved into top gear after the break. He went berserk at the start of the 33rd over, smashing three fours off Dilruwan Perera and then slammed Nuwan Pradeep through the point region to jump from 82 to 100 within no time.
Making a comeback into the team after October 2016, Dhawan profited from an early reprieve. The chance he offered at the score of 31 was the only blemish in Dhawan’s innings who provided India with a rollicking start. The Galle International Stadium has been a good venue for Dhawan, having scored a hundred here in 2015.
He started the proceedings with a firm push on the first ball of the match for a single and was completely at ease against the new ball bowlers and the spinners. The boundaries flowed from his blade and the first came off the 7th ball, a delightful straight drive off Sri Lanka’s experienced pacer Nuwan Pradeep. He was harsh on off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, first picking him off the toes and then coming down the track and driving him through the covers.
To add to Sri Lanka’s misery, he was given a reprieve when India were 59 for one, in the 14th over. It was the first good ball of the over by the wayward Lahiru Kumara, having conceded two easy fours and being warned for a beamer.
(This report was originally published in Hindustan Times)