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Border-Gavaskar Trophy: 3rd Test, 3rd Day - The Quick Flicks

Australia v Sri Lanka - First Test: Day 3

Withing 15 minutes, Mitchell Starc was in the middle of two ‘what if’ moments in the match.

‘Starc’ contrast to some of the top-order batting:

Mitchell Starc scored 99 runs which spoke volumes about his ability as a batsman considering the current struggles of the Australian top-order batting.

Starc flicked brilliantly early in the day, hooked Ishant Sharma with consummate ease and scored boundaries on both sides of the pitch. Indians were rattled by this counter-attack and had no answer to his onslaught. He had the temperament of a top-order batsman and has done enough to earn a promotion in the batting line up. Will the struggling top order take a leaf out of Starc’s book?

What would have happened had Australians appealed?

Shikhar Dhawan could have been out even before Australia had bowled their first ball. Mitchell Starc, who was fired up after scoring 99, was steaming in to bowl the first ball. The ball slipped out of Starc’s hand and hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end. No one appealed. Dhawan was Mankaded. Since Starc had not completed his action and Dhawan was out of his ground, he was out as per the laws.

Was that a costly lapse? Australians adhered to the spirit of the game but had they known what was going to happen for the remainder of the day, they would have surely gone up in vociferous appeal.

For Dhawan he did not suffer the ignominy of becoming the first batsman in 136 years to record a diamond duck (out without facing a ball) on debut.

Handshake for the first run:

Murali Vijay shook Shikhar Dhawan’s hand after the debutant scored his first run in International cricket. Former Indian skipper and commentator, Ravi Shastri who has played 80 Test matches for India said that he had never seen anybody being congratulated for scoring his first run. “First for me,” said Shastri.

Dha.One – A blockbuster

Debutant Dhawan was toying with Australian bowling like an artist who knew his art inside-out. He scored a barrage of boundaries at the start of the innings. It was the start we expected from Virender Sehwag all this while. Dhawan’s shots were magnificent. They had class written all over them. The backfoot punches, flick off the pads, sweep shots, cover drive, reverse-sweep – you name the shot and Dhawan played them with impeccable timing and precise placement.

Steve Smith – the third spinner?

The Australian spin duo was sent to the cleaners. Captain Michael Clarke was running short of ideas and he handed over the ball to Steve Smith who came into the Australian Test side as a bowler in the early part of his career. Over the last couple of seasons, Smith has become almost a specialist batsman. He bowled three uninspiring overs replete with full tosses and short balls. Clarke kept wondering what he needed to do to break the partnership.

Statistician’s delight:

Dhawan became the fastest centurion on debut in Test cricket.

He became India’s first opener to score a century on debut.

Batting on 185, he surpassed Gundappa Vishwanath’s score of 137, the highest score made by an Indian on debut.

Only five more players have scored more than Dhawan on debut.

He needs only five more boundaries to score most number of fours on debut. The record belongs to Tip Foster who scored 37 boundaries on his debut innings of 287 at Sydney in 1903.

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