What a great leveller the game of cricket is. We have seen umpteen instances of that over the years. Shikhar Dhawan would have found out soon enough on the fourth day when he got out caught at silly mid off having added just two more runs to his overnight score when everybody expected him to carry on and get a double century or even a triple ton.
A long innings can leave the arms sore and the hamstrings pretty tight and though ice baths, massages help, they cannot entirely take away the soreness that the body feels when it has been through so much. Add to that the mental aspect where he had to first overcome the nervousness that a debutant feels and then keep telling himself not to get carried away and make the most of what was unfolding.
The concentration would have been intense too and that does leave a player feeling drained physically as well as mentally at the end of the day, and it’s not easy to get back the same flow the next day. Sleep comes pretty fast but the mind does not really rest, excited as it is in anticipation about the next day.
To say that Shikhar Dhawan was awesome is putting it mildly. Having seen some fine debuts over the years, it was mindboggling to see what was unfurled by Dhawan as he raced away to the fastest century on debut by any batsman in the history of the game.
The fluency with which he moved into the shots and the smooth follow through of the bat added to the natural elegance that left-handers bring to batting. He played with so much confidence through the line that good deliveries were stroked to the boundary. Having played plenty of T20 cricket, it was thought that he would go the aerial route once the left-hand spinner Doherty came on to bowl, but he did not do so since the fours were coming so easily. It was a privilege to be at the ground and be there to watch this innings.
Murali Vijay once again showed how much his game has matured by not looking to match him stroke for stroke but still played some terrific shots and was rewarded with another 150 plus innings in Test cricket. He has also displayed admirable concentration and that is what Test cricket demands.
India have given themselves a good chance by taking three Australian wickets with Bhuvneshwar deceiving the batsmen with his swing, and with Clarke not fully fit, India will fancy their chances of winning this Test.