The stylish left-handed opening batsmen Shikhar Dhawan scored his fastest century against Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the five match series, it was also his career's 11th ton.
Dhawan blazed away with 132 runs with 21 boundaries, including three sixes, finishing the match with dominance over Lankans. He brought up his 11th ODI hundred off just 71 balls and it was the second quickest hundred against Sri Lanka by an Indian batsman after Virender Sehwag’s 66-ball ton at Rajkot in 2009.
It has not been a linear growth for Dhawan as he was dropped after the New Zealand series last year due to a slump in form. Determined as he was, he made comeback into the team for the Champions Trophy this year. His ability to play short ball on fast tracks with cuts and pulls cemented his place at top of the batting order.
He was consistent with his batting and won the ‘Golden Bat’ for his massive 338 runs in the tournament. Since then he has performed well and looked keen to continue with his good form.
The stylish left-hander is looking in ominous touch in past six months but he hasn't forgotten the slump which had forced him out of the team.
In this tour of Sri Lanka, Dhawan has been in prime form. Besides the unbeaten ton in the first ODI, he also scored hundreds in Galle and Pallekele Tests. In one of his interview to a news agency, Dhawan said he was in similar form during the 2013 Champions Trophy after he scored a majestic maiden Test hundred against Australia.
"It's a long time (until the next World Cup). I would like to keep performing well. That would be my goal because if I don't perform, there are such great batsmen in our side that anyone can take my place," said Dhawan after helping India register an easy nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI on Sunday.
Dhawan’s batting form over the past 12 months has been good as ever too. He has scored four fifties and four hundreds over 22 games, which can be considered as a slight improvement. Dhawan’s longest streak without at least a half-century is seven innings so far.
In 2016, Dhawan's Test average in was 26 and his ODI average was 57.40. This gap between his Test and ODI averages has continued to widen over the last four years, with 2015 being the only exception.
Dhawan was dropped for the Port of Spain Test last August after a low tally of 138 runs from four innings.
In the tour of South Africa in 2015, Dhawan failed to make into playing eleven. Just before the series he came back from a hand injury and led India A to an innings victory against the touring Bangladesh A side at Bangalore.
Dhawan made his Test debut in Mohali against Australian in the third test match when Virender Sehwag was dropped due to poor form. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring 187 off 174 balls, also earning the distinction of fastest hundred by any batsman on debut – off 85 balls.
It was in the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2013 where he scored two tons in India’s triumph. He once again shone in the 2015 World Cup in Australia where he was India’s highest scorer and played a big role in the team’s semi-final appearance.