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Dhawan's the one

india Updated: Mar 17, 2013 00:18 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan

For sheer impact, it must be as big as anything that has happened in Indian cricket.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan bludgeoned an unconquered 185 in the third Test on Saturday, the dazzling innings by the 27-year-old Delhi player being the fastest century by a debutant in Test cricket's 136-year history.

The left-handed batsman smashed his runs from just 168 deliveries, causing mayhem in the Australian ranks for a shade over four hours while promising more on Sunday.

His stunning 85-ball century came in a single session as he scored 106 runs between lunch and tea on day three at Mohali. In the immediate context, it has turned a tame match on its head and handed India the platform to push for victory and an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

Helplessness is not a word easily associated with Australian teams. But Dhawan's pummeling left a team under siege hoping and praying.

The pitch was flat and he subdued the bowlers quickly. There was no hesitation or recklessness, each drive, lofted shot and pull powered off the meat of the bat. It is the sixth highest score by a Test debutant - there are five double tons by debutants.

Although the knock came in ideal batting conditions, it is sure to have an impact beyond the record books, giving a fresh boost to an India team looking to recover from the lows in Australia and against England away and at home.

Dhawan's achievement is sure to have the same impact as the century by Virender Sehwag - the man he replaced in this Test - on debut in South Africa in 2001 had, announcing the entry of a fearless batsman bowlers worldwide have to take note of.

It will be spoken alongside the debut centuries by Gundappa Viswanath, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly.

The effort is also sure to be spoken in glowing terms, like some of the great knocks by Indian batsmen of this generation.

Sehwag's two Test triple centuries, VVS Laxman's monumental 281 against Australia at Eden Gardens, Sachin Tendulkar's 114 at Perth in 1991-92 and Rahul Dravid's match-winning 233 at Adelaide in 2003-04.

In the rampaging mood he is in, Dhawan can even aspire to reel in the record score on debut - a match-winning 287 by England's Reginald Foster against Australia at Sydney in 1903.