Dhawan, the tattooed tough with a soft heart
Pak could pull out of
Jr Hockey World Cup
Bhullar rises in Avantha golf
Rain delays Australian F1 GP qualifying
Dhawan smashes 185* on debut to give India whiff of a win
Tribune News Service
Mohali, March 16
But nine years of Ranji grind and a clutch of stop-start ODIs have made him learn the virtues of patience, control and consistency - the true sign of manhood.
Making his Test debut as an opener, the 27-year-old left hand batsman again twirled his moustaches twice but before that he had backed it up with a sensational century (185 off 168 balls 33x4, 2x6) on Day Three as India walked back with 283/0 in 58 overs.
They are still trailing by 125 runs with 10 wickets remaining. Walking back to the pavilion at the end of the day, Australia made a beeline to shake hands with Dhawan, who again twirled his moustaches, suggesting that a double hundred is not far tomorrow. Though the way he chose his shots today seemed as if there was no tomorrow.
Hitting 21 fours - 84 runs - on his way to his maiden Test 100, yet not once through the air. His penetration of all corners of the park, slicing the offside and the midwicket regularly. The front foot was as decisive as immaculate, and wrists rotating like a rotor, Dhawan reached his nirvana at a breakneck speed (85 balls). Yet, not a single crease appeared on his forehead on his way to the century. Only a sense of relief and triumph after having achieved what he had been yearning for so long.
Here was a man on debut hitting the fastest Test century, after having toiled nine years in domestic cricket and fluffing most of his chances in international cricket. However treacherous this journey may have been in these long tumultuous years, at least today he was a man who didn't have to try too hard.
If the pig-tailed Shikhar turned a dacoit, snatching the advantage from Australia (408 all out in 141.5 overs) after the first session, Saturday could well be his Dabang moment for India. Blown away by Shikhar's debut, Navjot Singh Sidhu said, "The difference between heaven and earth is not of altitude but of attitude," hastily adding, "He is now driving in the Ferrari lane."
Undoubtedly, Australian bowling attack has been feckless, and an unresponsive wicket may have made it even worse, Murali Vijay (83; 181b,10x4,6x2) didn't blow away this chance. He knew Dhawan was on fire, still somebody was required had to play the sheet anchor and he had to shoulder the responsibility by curbing his instincts.
It was instinct only that pushed the flailing Australians from 273/7 to 408 all out. No.9 Mitchell Starc hit 99, that was the long and short of the first session. Starc (99;144b,14x4) and Steve Smith (92;185,10x4,1x6) had done their homework and revised their lessons well as they went about slambanging the Indian pacers and spinners. Starc particularly was all over the park. Smith stood out for his conviction and fighting spirit. Had it not been for Dhawan and Vijay, Day Three honours would have gone to them.
Day Four however could hold up much for India if they gain a sizeable lead and then throw the challenge early at the Aussies. The visitors' possibility of a win are fast receding and they would be forced to go for a draw unless something great happens for them early in the morning. That looks an unlikely possibility with the arsenal they have in their ranks.
Australia 1st innings: (overnight 273/7)
Cowan c Kohli b Ashwin 86
Warner c Dhoni b Jadeja 71
Clarke st Dhoni b Jadeja 0
Hughes c Dhoni b Ojha 2
Smith st Dhoni b Ojha 92
Haddin b Sharma 21
Henriques b Sharma 0
Siddle lbw b Jadeja 0
Starc c Dhoni b Sharma 99
Lyon not out 9
Doherty lbw b Ashwin 5
Total: (all out in 141.5 ov) 408
Fall of wickets: 1/139 2/139 3/151 4/198 5/244 6/244 7/251 8/348 9/399
Ishant Sharma 30-8-72-3
India 1st innings
Vijay batting 83
Dhawan batting 185
Total: (no loss in 58 ov) 283
Could have been Mankaded..
Shikhar Dhawan's dream debut could have ended before it had begun. As Mitchell Starc ran in to bowl the first ball of the innings, the ball slipped from Starc's hand and hit the stumps with Dhawan out of his ground. Under the rules, Dhawan would have been run out had Australia appealed as Starc had not yet completed his delivery swing. Michael Clarke signalled for a replay, albeit jokingly. "When the ball hit the wicket, I was laughing," he said later. "It was lunch after that over… I was laughing in the dressing room, that history could have been created… I could have been run out and back in the dressing room without facing a ball. TNS
Dhawan, the tattooed tough with a soft heart
Mohali, March 16
He discussed his knock calmly and barely a touch of excitement, displaying flashes of wit and humour. He had scored runs at a rate Virender Sehwag, the man he replaced, would have been proud of; he displayed similar indifference to the carnage he visited upon the bowlers today.
Dhawan wasn't nervous today, not visibly. Yet, he said, he was nervous. He seemed to be in a hurry to score runs, rushing to 50, 100, 150… yet, he said he wasn't in a hurry. "I wasn't really playing in a hurry. The fours were going on their own after the ball hit the bat," he said, making the room ring with laughter. "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 said the openers didn't come out with a plan to attack the bowling. "I was hitting the ball well, I was middling the ball very nicely and the runs came on their own." This was Dhawan's insight into his amazing scoring rate — as if scoring runs was a simple matter of waiting for apples to drop under a tree.
'I still remember when I debuted for India in One-dayers and got out on zero against Australia," Dhawan went on. "Then Dhoni bhai and Suresh Raina told me that the players who had got out on zero for India on debut went really big."
"This time I was nervous, that it was again Australia on my Test debut, because I'd scored zero then," Dhawan was able to say this with a carefree laugh. "So I was a bit nervous. But everything went well and I was really happy that I grabbed this opportunity and scored a century."
Dhawan had been handed his Test cap by Sachin Tendulkar yesterday. That, he said, was one of the greatest moment of his life. "As kids, we all have dreamed that we wanted to play with Sachin paaji, and that dream has come true," Dhawan said. "He told me that '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 man his Delhi teammaets called "Gabbar" due to his brawn has a soft side. He got married four months ago and the first person he called was his wife, who is in Melbourne.
Marriage to half Bengali, half British Aesha Mukherjee has made him a family man.
Aesha has been a devoted cricket wife, watching him play in Ranji Trophy, even giving him throw-downs to bat against at the end of the day. His wife has two daughters from an earlier marriage and Dhawan is a proud father to them.
"My wife and my two daughters are in Melbourne," he said. "I'd like to thank them because they've been praying a lot for me back home. It's a great moment for me and my family. I called my wife after coming in. I knew she'd been praying for me, it was an emotional moment for my wife."
New Delhi, March 16
"We may pull out of the Junior WC to be held in India in December. Enough is enough and we can't take this anymore," Pakistan Hockey Federation general secretary Asif Bajwa said.
"This is happening again and again. First they send our players back without even giving them a chance to play in a single match in the Hockey India League and now this," he said from Lahore. The FIH Junior World Cup will be held here at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium from December 6 to 15 this year. Bajwa's comments came after the simmering political tensions between India and Pakistan prompted the Indian government to call off the upcoming bilateral hockey series between the two.
Pakistan was scheduled to tour India in mid-April for five hockey Tests, followed by a return visit by India.
But the ministry of external affairs has refused to give the green signal to the planned series, after the Pakistan Parliament passed a resolution against Afzal Guru's execution and the recent 'fidayeen' attack.
Bajwa also said that Pakistan will no longer take any initiative for the resumption of Indo-Pak hockey ties after the recent episode.
"Whatever we could do we have already done. We have done enough for the resumption of hockey between the two nations. Now India will have to take the initiative," he said. Asked about the future of this much-anticipated series, Bajwa said, "It is up to India now. We were ready to send our team first but now if such bilateral series takes place in future, the Indian team will have to visit Pakistan first.”Azlan Shah: India held to a draw by Malaysia, to play Pak for 5-6 playoff
A controversial penalty stroke enabled Malaysia to hold India to a 2-2 draw in the final round-robin match of the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Saturday. Malaysia will meet Australia in the final on Sunday while India will play Pakistan for the fifth place play-off. New Zealand take on South Korea for the third place play-off. — Agencies
Greater Noida, March 16
Bhullar's five-under 67 was the best performance by an Indian today and his five birdies — two on the front and three on the back-nine — fetched him a share of the eighth position with a three-day total of 12-under 204.
Also in contention for a good finish at the richest golf event in India is the seasoned Jeev Milkha Singh. The Chandigarh-pro, who signed off tied 43rd last year, looks good enough to better that performance after a three-under 69, comprising six birdies and three bogeys, left him tied 17th with a total of 10-under 206.
Jeev was not quite happy with the way things panned out today blaming the three bogeys on aggression.
"I am getting the birdies alright, but I am also dropping too many bogeys. In three days I have dropped eight bogeys and that's just too much,” he said. PTI
Bangalore, March 16
A wet first session of qualifying was completed after a half-hour postponement, but a succession of delays to Q2 meant it was becoming too dark to hold the remaining sessions, and a series of heavy showers made the Albert Park street circuit too dangerous.
Both qualifying and race begin at 5 pm meaning there is little room for delays before the sun sets. AP
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