Shikhar Dhawan returned to form against Australia in the fourth ODI in Mohali as he stroked his way to a fantastic century after Virat Kohli won the toss and asked his team to bat first.
Dhawan was at his elegant best at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium on Sunday. From his usually fluent cover drive to the flick down to fine leg, Dhawan's batting was a showcase of his ability in full flow.
Coming into this game, the left-hander was in poor form as he scored only 22 runs in the first three ODIs. Hence, when Dhawan got his half-century, his opening partner Rohit Sharma has more stoked than the man himself. Dhawan came up to shake his hand but Rohit hugged hum animatedly and punched the former's chest in celebration.
Dhawan started his innings with a flier as he took on the bowling and allowed Rohit to take his time and settle down. As Rohit continued his innings, in his usual manner, the right-hander caught up with his partner. In fact, there was a point Rohit even overtook Dhawan but eventually perished to his strength – the pull shot.
Rohit was batting on 95 off 91 balls when he pulled Jhye Richardson in a bid to notch up his century but holed out to Peter Handscomb at deep square leg. Dhawan, though, remained undeterred and notched up his century shortly after.
Dhawan's century came off 97 balls when he swept Adam Zampa down to the fine leg boundary. He brought up his century in the last ball of the 32nd over with KL Rahul for company. Twitterati was naturally pleased with his effort and lauded the "Gabbar" of cricket for returning to form ahead of the upcoming World Cup.
After reaching his century, Dhawan went into overdrive hitting the bowlers at will. He was moving around the crease and wherever he hit the ball, there seemed to be gaps. Eventually, the 33-year-old fell for 143 to Pat Cummins trying to hoick the bowler over midwicket.
India made four changes to the team as KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal returned to the playing XI. They replaced Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja.
Talking about his decision to win the toss and bat first instead of chasing, captain Kohli said, "We are going to bat first. Looks like a belter of a pitch. Can't really predict when the dew is going to come, if at all it is going to come at all."