'Gabbar' Shikhar Dhawan delivers for India on promise

Updated: Dec 18, 2017, 12:15 IST | Harit N Joshi

It was a Deodhar Trophy century in the City of Destiny this year in March that paved the way back for Shikhar Dhawan into the Indian team just in time for the Champions Trophy

It was a Deodhar Trophy century in the City of Destiny this year in March that paved the way back for Shikhar Dhawan into the Indian team just in time for the Champions Trophy. Yesterday, the Indian opener rewrote his own destiny here at the ACA-VDCA Dr YSR Stadium with an unbeaten century to seal the three-match ODI against Sri Lanka 2-1 with a comprehensive eight-wicket win. He also helped India stay unbeatable in ODI cricket this year.

India's Shikhar Dhawan plays a shot against Sri Lanka during the third ODI in Vizag yesterday. The Delhi batsman scored 100 not out. Pic/PTI
India's Shikhar Dhawan plays a shot against Sri Lanka during the third ODI in Vizag yesterday. The Delhi batsman scored 100 not out. Pic/PTI 

On the eve of the third and final ODI, Dhawan emphatically announced that he can demolish any attack when on song. He did exactly that yesterday as he slammed his 12th ODI century off 85 balls. The Men in Blue recorded their eighth consecutive ODI series victory by successfully chasing a 216-run target in 32.1 overs. Dhawan top-scored with an unbeaten 100 while Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer hammered a quickfire 63-ball 65. India's spin duo Yuzvendra Chahal (3-46) and Kuldeep Yadav (3-42) did exceptionally well to restrict Sri Lanka to 215 in 44.5 overs after the visitors were 136-2 in 22.3 overs at one stage, thanks to Upul Tharanga's 95. Iyer initially dealt in singles, scoring just nine off the first 16 balls. His first boundary came off the 23rd ball through a gentle sweep. There on, it was Iyer's show as he unleashed the sweep, cut and on-drive with power and exquisite timing.

Sri Lanka gave Iyer two lifelines. He was first dropped on 25 by Angelo Mathews at slip off Suchith Pathirana and Akila Dananjaya could not hold on to a tough chance at third man when Iyer was on 38. The Mumbai man slammed a six and then a single to reach his second consecutive half-century in 44 balls. Meanwhile, young gun Washington Sundar, who made his debut in the second ODI at Mohali, did not travel to the ground yesterday since he was down with a stomach illness. Sundar had skipped Saturday's practice session as well. Kuldeep Yadav replaced Sundar in the playing XI.

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