Ton-up Dhawan takes India to 321/6 against Sri Lanka

Ton-up Dhawan takes India to 321/6 against Sri Lanka
 Shikhar Dhawan continued his love affair with the ICC Champions Trophy with yet another elegant hundred, guiding India to an imposing 321 for 6 against Sri Lanka in a Group B match here today.

Dhawan smashed his way to 125 off 128 balls, his 10th career ODI hundred, and added 138 for the opening stand with Rohit Sharma, who cruised his way to a languid 78 off 79 balls.

The final flourish was provided by none other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a quickfire 63 off 52 balls.

This was Dhawan’s third hundred in Champions Trophy, having scored a couple during last edition. His entertaining innings comprised 15 fours and a six.

He got an able ally in Dhoni, who got an ideal platform coming in to bat in the 34th over. The fourth wicket stand produced 82 runs in 10.4 overs.

The former captain used all his experience, hitting seven fours and two sixes on way to reaching his 62nd ODI half- century. Kedar Jadhav’s (25 of 13 balls) cameo was icing on the cake.

Angelo Mathews wanted his bowlers to make first use of the wicket but the pace trio of Lasith Malinga (2/70 in 10 overs), Suranga Lakmal (1/72 in 10 overs) and Nuwan Pradeep (1/73 in 10 overs) most of the times bowled short of length only to be pulled time and again by the Indian batsmen.

Worse, they were again behind the stipulated over-rate.
The best part about Dhawan’s innings was the sheer effortlessness with which he shifted gears. He started on an attacking note only to drop anchor when Rohit upped the ante before another round of attractive strokeplay after the loss of Virat Kohli (0) and Yuvraj Singh (7) in quick succession.

For Rohit, the 91 on comeback against Pakistan had given him enough confidence to caress the very first delivery of the match bowled by Malinga to wide off point .

Dhawan in the very next over played an imperious cut shot off Lakmal. He followed it up with a cover drive off Malinga’s bowling but it was a cautious start during those first five overs that yielded 17 runs.

While the runs didn’t come at a quick clip but there was no incisive quality in Lankan attack that could have troubled the openers.

Malinga, who is nearing the end of his ODI career, lacked bite in his bowling. The openers didn’t take chances against the slinger but also weren’t in any kind of trouble.

But the successful pair just upped the ante in the second part of the first Powerplay. In the next five overs, India scored 31 runs.

Their understanding was there to be seen. When Rohit was playing himself in, Dhawan attacked the bowlers but once the Mumbaikar got a hang of the track, the southpaw quietly slipped playing the role of a second fiddle.

Dhawan took the charge in the sixth over hitting Lakmal through covers and then a mistimed pull got him another boundary.

In Lakmal’s next over, Rohit played the first of  his effortless pull-shot to get a one bounce four.
By the 10th over, the Lankan bowling started losing its grip and by the 20th over, it lay in complete tatters with Mathews lacking a Plan B to stop the duo from scoring freely.

The 100 came up in the 20th over – their second century stand in successive overs. Rohit pulled Thisara Perera over deep square leg boundary to complete his half-century and then celebrated it with another pulled six that was hit finer.

Rohit’s fetish for pull shot was evident when he got his third six – this time off Malinga before perishing trying to hit a fourth one.

His free flowing knock had six boundaries and three sixes. The opening stand produced 138 runs, two more than what the openers scored against Pakistan.
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