Dhawan destroys Australia
Shikhar Dhawan struck the fastest hundred by a Test debutant to leave Australia pulverized on Day 3 at Mohali.
Dhawan and Murali Vijay added a record Indian opening stand of 283/0 to reduce India’s deficit to 125 runs after Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc had pushed Australia’s first innings total to 408 in the morning.
India would have wanted to bowl the tail out cheaply after they had Australia at 273/7 at Stumps on Day 2 Smith and Starc hardly looked bothered by the Indian bowlers in the morning. They extended their 22 run partnership to a 97 run one before MS Dhoni superbly stumped Smith (92, 185b, 10x4, 1x6) off Ojha. Starc (99, 144b, 14x4) carried on assuredly and was on when on the verge of a maiden Test hundred when he was caught behind off Sharma, bringing to an end his 51 run partnership with Nathan Lyon for the ninth wicket. Australia made 135 in the morning session, 157 runs coming for the last three wickets as they racked up a healthy first innings total of 408.
Shikhar Dhawan was unbeaten on 0 when India went to lunch at 3/0 but he brought up his ton within the second session of the day. He attacked the flagging Australian bowlers with utter disdain, finding gaps through crowded offside fields and charging Peter Siddle when he was on 98. His fifty came at run-a-ball and 84 runs of his 85 ball hundred had come in fours; it was the fastest Test hundred on debut, beating Dwayne Smith’s 93 ball hundred on debut against South Africa in 2004.
Murali Vijay played support at the other end but he was not quiet either, crunching sixes off Lyon and taking fours off the pacers. He reached his fifty in the third session and focussed on rotating the strike to Dhawan who at the other end was producing every shot in the book and playing them with absolute ease.
By stumps Vijay had reached 83* (181b, 10x4, 2x6) while Dhawan had raced to 185* (168b, 33x4, 2x6). They did not just chip away at the deficit but had blasted huge chunks away with dynamite , the emphatic 4.87 run rate giving India a shot at a result despite one day lost to rain and the apparent lack of assistance from the pitch.