Gabbar is back. Twirling his mustache and rekindling memories of his superb 187 on debut, Shikhar Dhawan went on a rampage against a toothless Sri Lanka attack on Day one of the first Test at Galle.
For the second time in his career, Dhawan scored a century in a session and made a blazing 190 off just 168 deliveries. His innings, studded with 31 boundaries saw the southpaw register his highest Test score as India at stumps were 399 for the loss of three wickets.
Oh boy! The red ball just sped across the turf at Galle and the Sri Lankan fielders at one point didn't even bother running.
After the early departure of Abhinav Mukund, Dhawan along with Cheteshwar Pujara forged a mammoth 253-run stand with the former adopting an attacking style of play right from ball one.
Ever since the advent of ODIs in 1971 and T20Is in 2005, scoring rates have skyrocketed in Test cricket.
Despite that, it is still a herculean effort to score more than 100 runs in a session as opposition captains tend to spread the field the moment a batsman starts attacking.
India scored freely in the morning session and Dhawan was batting on 64 off just 78 balls at lunch. However, he cut loose in the session between lunch and tea scoring 126 runs in just 90 balls.
To put things in perspective that's 126 runs in just 15 overs. Most people would be happy to score at such a rate in ODIs. But Dhawan scored it in Tests and he did without any wild slogging but normal cricketing shots.
Even accounting for the slower scoring rates in the early days of Test cricket, what makes Dhawan's innings even more special is that there have been only seven instances in Test annals where Indian batsmen have scored in excess of Dhawan's 190 in a single day.
Four out of the seven occasions have been by the Nawab of Najafgarh, the peerless Virender Sehwag.
- Virender Sehwag- 284* vs Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in December 2009. India won by an innings and 24 runs
- Virender Sehwag-257* vs South Africa at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in March 2008. The match was drawn.
- Karun Nair-232 vs England at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in December 2016. India won by an innings and 75 runs
- Virender Sehwag- 228 vs Pakistan at the Ibn-e-Qasim Bagh Stadium, Multan in March 2004. This was the first triple century by an Indian in Tests and paved the way for India’s commanding 675/5 declared. India won by an innings and 52 runs.
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni- 206 vs Australia at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in February 2004. Dhoni strode in to bat with India placed precariously at 196/4 and scored the third highest score by a wicket-keeper in Tests. India won by 8 wickets.
- Virender Sehwag-195 vs Australia at the MCG in Melbourne in December 2003. Australia won by 9 wickets
- Wasim Jaffer- 192* vs Pakistan at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in December 2007. The match was drawn.
India won on four occasions, lost once and drew twice on these seven occasions. Three of the seven instances were in Chennai.
Dhawan's 126 runs in one session is the fourth most runs ever scored in the session between lunch and tea. There have been five other instances of Indian batsmen scoring more than 100 runs between lunch and tea in a Test.
Take a look.
- Polly Umrigar-110 vs West Indies at Port of Spain 1961-62. However, India lost the match by seven wickets.
- Virender Sehwag-109 vs Pakistan at Lahore in 2005-06. The match was drawn
- Virender Sehwag- 108 vs South Africa at Chennai in 2007-08. The match was drawn
- Shikhar Dhawan- 106 vs Australia at Mohali in 2012-13. Incidentally, this was Dhawan’s debut innings and he scored the fastest century by a debutant in Tests. India won by six wickets.
- Mohammad Azharuddin- 103 vs England at Manchester in 1990. This match was famous for Sachin Tendulkar scoring his first century in Tests. The match was drawn.
Without being churlish, Dhawan had a rush of blood and fell ten short of a double hundred. Otherwise, given the fact that he had the attack at his mercy, he could have become just the second batsman to score 300 runs in day.
The table below gives the list of top 10 highest run scorers in a day in Tests.
|295||Wally Hammond||England||New Zealand||Auckland||1933|
|284||Virender Sehwag||India||Sri Lanka||Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai||2009|
|257||Virender Sehwag||India||South Africa||Chennai||2008|
|244||David Warner||Australia||New Zealand||Perth||2015|
|239||Frank Worrell||West Indies||England||Nottingham||1950|
Indians occupy three out of the ten positions of maximum runs scored in a day in Tests and on Wednesday, Dhawan showed why he is such a dangerous opening batsman.
Dhawan's breezy 190 allowed Pujara to play his natural game and notch his 12th Test century and most importantly helped India garner 399 runs on the opening day.
Pujara rarely misses out on converting his starts into big ones and come Day two India have the advantage and arsenal to bat Sri Lanka out of the Test match.
Courtesy, Shikhar Dhawan. What a knock!The author tweets @ravivenkat007