By Champika Fernando
Shikhar Dhawan who scored a swashbuckling century, before falling ten runs short of a deserving double century rated his 168-ball 190 as his best Test innings in his short career. Dhawan, 31, who joined the squad when regular opener Murali Vijay opted out citing fitness issues, batted with aggression and intend as he punished the hapless bowlers mercilessly to all corners of the ground.
“Yeah, actually. My debut innings was more like this one. Even against Bangladesh, I played quick. I scored a quick hundred over there but this was a bit better than that Bangladesh one,” Dhawan said at the end of the first day’s play.
The left hander also shared a brisk 253 runs for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara to lay the foundation for a big first inning total after the early loss of opener Abhinav Mukund and reach 282 for two at the tea break, scoring at a brisk rate of over five runs an over.
Dhawan, dropped on 31 by Asela Gunaratne at slip, hit 31 boundaries in his 168-ball blitz before throwing his wicket away in the final over before the tea break.
“Of course I was disappointed that I got out for 190,” he said. “I would have loved to have scored a 200 and 300 was a hundred runs ahead, I had’t thought about that. But more than that, I got out at the wrong time. It was the last over before tea. But the way I was playing, I was confident that I could clear the mid-off fielder and I was almost hitting a boundary per over. I was in that zone and I backed myself. Unfortunately it didn’t go my way. A bit
disappointed that I couldn’t score 200 but happy and thankful to God that I
Dhawan admitted that the batting wasn’t difficult as there was no turn even though some bounce and pace was there.
“The wicket was also good and there wasn’t much spin over there. But it still got true bounce and good pace from the wicket and I feel that I batted well too,” he added.
India will resume their innings on 399 for 3 and with seven wickets in hand they will look to exploit the conditions to set a huge first innings total.