Shikhar Dhawan has always reserved his best in major ICC events, be it the Champions Trophy or the World Cup. The left-hander has a wonderful record not only in ICC events but also against five-time champions Australia. In the ICC Cricket World Cup clash at the Kennington Oval, Dhawan showed his brilliance and notched up his 17th century and fourth against Australia as India were in a strong position on Sunday. India chose to bat on a flat deck and both Dhawan and his opening partner Rohit Sharma capitalised on the slowness of the deck and made great progress against a strong bowling unit.
Both Dhawan and Rohit started slowly and it was the left-hander who smashed the first boundary of the match when he caressed a full ball from Pat Cummins to the deep extra cover fence. The pressure of the early overs was released when Dhawan slammed three boundaries off Nathan Coulter-Nile in the eighth over. The first boundary was a drive straight down the ground, the second was a cut shot to the deep cover fence while the third was a late-cut to the third man fence.
Australia employed the short ball barrage and Dhawan was lucky to get a top edge off a short ball from Coulter-Nile but he was in control of the second short ball when he upper-cut Marcus Stoinis over Alex Carey for a boundary. Both Rohit and Dhawan stitched the highest opening stand in World Cups for India against Australia and he notched up his fifty off just 53 balls.
After going past the landmark, Dhawan pounced on Stoinis by smashing two consecutive boundaries and despite losing Rohit for 57, Dhawan continued his aggression. He blasted two fours off legspinner Adam Zampa and got near to his century by getting an under-edge to a short ball from Pat Cummins as he attempted the upper-cut again. The left-hander raced through the 90s by pulling Zampa to the deep square leg fence and he reached the landmark in dramatic fashion.
The left-hander pushed a full ball from Marcus Stoinis to the mid-off region and looked for a single but sent Virat Kohi back half-way down the pitch. The fielder scored a direct hit and the ricochet resulted in a single. Dhawan’s knock has put India on course for a score in excess of 300 against Australia.