'Happy to have grabbed this opportunity'

'Happy to have grabbed this opportunity'

At the start of India’s reply when Shikhar Dhawan was at the non-striker’s end, the opener found himself well out of the crease when Mitchell Starc accidentally knocked the bails off while on his bowling stride.

It’s a different matter no one appeals for such dismissals without warning the batsman but Dhawan would have been given out had the bowler appealed. “When the ball hit the wicket, I was laughing,” Dhawan said later, more than content after notching an unbeaten century on debut. “It was lunch after that over and I was still laughing in the dressing room (thinking) that history would have been created that without facing a ball I could have been out and back in the dressing room,” he remarked.

He didn’t get out but the left-hander still created history en route to his blistering unbeaten 185 (168b, 33x4, 2x6) on the third day of the third Test here on Saturday. The 13th Indian to score a century on debut, Dhawan recalled his first one-day match, also against Australia. “It was a very satisfying feeling,” said Dhawan. “I still remember when I debuted for India in one-dayers and got out for zero against Australia only.

And then Dhoni bhai and Raina had told me that players who’ve got out on zero for India on debut, they have gone on to become big. This time I was nervous, that it was again Australia on my Test debut because I’d scored zero then. But everything went well and I was really happy that I grabbed this opportunity, scoring a century,” he said.

Dhawan seemed to be a man in a hurry the way he went about his innings with a flurry of boundaries. “The fours were coming after the ball hitting the bat. Maybe that’s why you thought I was in a hurry. But I guess I was in a good flow today. I felt my shot selection was good and I played according to how I’d assessed the wicket. I didn’t feel that I rushed things,” he remarked while disclosing that he was indeed nervous when he was nearing 100.

Receiving his Test cap from Sachin Tendulkar, Dhawan said, was a great moment for him. “It is always a great honour to play with him. As kids, we all have dreamed of playing with Sachin paaji, and that dream has come true.  He told me ‘we all have known you as a gutsy player, and you’ve been performing well in the domestic circuit. We’d like to see your gutsy nature and shots over here.’”

The 27-year-old was congratulated by his partner Vijay when he took a single for his first Test runs. Funny as the moment was, Dhawan was touched by the gesture. “Yes, Vijay and I have played together many times. It feels good when your partner comes to you to congratulate for even your first run. When my team-mates are so happy for me, I feel really happy about it,” he noted.

100 on Test debut for India

Player     against     year
Lala Amarnath (118)      England       1933/34
D Shodhan   (110)    Pakistan    1952/53
AK Singh (100 n.o)    New Zealand    1955/56
Abbas Ali Baig (112)    England    1959
Hanumant Singh (105)    England    1963/64
GR Viswanath (137)    Australia    1969/70
S Amarnath (124)    New Zealand    1975/76
M Azharuddin (110)    England    1984/85
P Amre (103)    South Africa    1992/93
S Ganguly (131)    England    1996
V Sehwag (105)    South Africa    2001/02
S Raina (120)    Sri Lanka    2010
S Dhawan (185, batting)    Australia    2013

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