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Shikhar Dhawan - the batsman with swag

You bat like a king, get out like a king, says Dhawan after striking his second ton this Test series

By Anand Subramaniam in
Shikhar Dhawan is on a roll. The ball is hitting the sweet spot more often than not and he is making full use of it. If his 190 in the first Test at Galle was not enough, Dhawan backed it up with another whirlwind innings scoring 119 on day one of the third Test in Kandy. There is swag in his batting. Those deft touches and nudges with nonchalance are often overshadowed with the sheer pace in which he scores his runs. Toss the ball up and he would come down the track and hit you out of the park, pitch it slightly outside off and he would cut the ball to the fence with absolute ease. Some of these facets of his game were seen on a bright Saturday morning at the Pallekele stadium in Kandy as he paved his way to a 6th Test ton.

Along with KL Rahul, he put up a 188-run opening stand taking India to a position of advantage early on in the innings. Rahul unfortunately got out for 85, while Dhawan looked like getting a big score before he was out caught at square leg trying to go for a big shot. When asked if he regretted playing that shot or if Rahul was disappointed to get out in that fashion, Dhawan said, “I was saying jokingly that if you bat like a king, you should also get out like a king, you should not be dismissed like a soldier. If you have made runs aggressively, then you will get out that way too. That’s how it is. I know I am an aggressive batsman, so I would rather get out that way than getting out in the slips and being defensive because that is not my natural game. My game, my planning is to keep scoring, it works for me. My strength is to score quickly and I like to play to my strengths.”

Dhawan was impressive against the spinners as well. He used his feet well and also dealt with severity on occasions. Lakshan Sandakan, the Chinaman looked impressive but Dhawan was reading him well off the hand after trying to gauge him for a few overs. “Sandakan was bowling well. He was turning the ball and one odd ball was turning a lot. It was hard for me to pick his googly once or twice because I had not played him. It was my first time. But after I was set and once I saw him, then I knew what he was doing. I could pick his googly. His googly comes a bit slower than his normal delivery, so when you spend time, you realise things and you work according to that. He was turning the ball and that’s why I was playing him more cautiously rather than being over-aggressive.”

Dhawan acknowledged the fact that the pitch was not responsible for their (openers) mode of dismissals, in fact it was their intentions to go for the shots – to which there were no qualms. “The pitch is a bit on the slower side and does not have much of bounce in it. Rahul and myself played very nicely. We were playing our shots and got out, it was not as if we were getting out because of the pitch. The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled well and pulled the match a little bit on their side but we have got a decent score and good batsmen to go and score more runs tomorrow.”

From 188 for no loss, India went on to end the day with 329/6. Dhawan was not too bothered about the team’s loss of wickets in a hurry. “That happens. It’s not that it has happened for the first time. We got a good start and still feel at the end of the day, 329 is a good score. It is a wicket where it is not spinning but it doesn’t have bounce, so it’s not easy to score runs out there. When Sri Lanka come out to bat, we are going to make sure that we squeeze them hard and not give away easy runs.”