The opportunity has come Shikhar Dhawan’s way as the main team led by Virat Kohli is in England for a long tour. The squad in the UK will feature in the World Test Championship Final (WTC) against New Zealand in Southampton, followed by five Tests against hosts England.
On Friday, the 35-year-old took to Twitter and wrote that he was humbled by the opportunity to lead the country. He also thanked everyone for their wishes.
Shikhar Dhawan has an excellent ODI record against the Sri Lankans. In 16 matches against the island nation, he has amassed 983 runs at an average of 70.21.
The best of Shikhar Dhawan against Sri Lanka in one-dayers
With Shikhar Dhawan all set to lead India in Sri Lanka, we look back at three of the left-hander’s finest knocks against the Lankans in one-dayers.
#3 113 in Cuttack - November 2014
Shikhar Dhawan hammered 113 off 107 balls in the first ODI of the five-match series against Sri Lanka in Cuttack in November 2014. Sri Lanka elected to field first in the game but were made to rue their decision as Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane (111) feasted at the expense of Sri Lanka’s bowlers.
Shikhar Dhawan smashed 14 fours and 3 sixes during his stay at the crease as he added a massive 231 for the opening wicket with Rahane. The left-hander was dropped by Kumar Sangakkara off Dhammika Prasad’s bowling in the seventh over and made the Lankans pay.
He smashed Suraj Randiv for two fours and a six off consecutive balls to bring up his half-century in the 21st over. Shikhar Dhawan took on Lahiru Gamage and Angelo Mathews as well. He then brought up his hundred by clobbering leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna for a flat six over midwicket.
The attacking opener’s innings finally ended when he was bowled by Ashan Priyanjan, attempting a sweep. India ended up posting a mammoth 363 for 5 on the board. Ishant Sharma then claimed 4 for 34 as the Indian bowlers rolled over Sri Lanka for 194 in 39.2 overs.
#2 125 in London - June 2017 (Champions Trophy)
Shikhar Dhawan loves batting in ICC events. It was the 2013 Champions Trophy that had brought him into prominence in the ODI circuit, and he was among the runs again in the 2017 edition.
Sri Lanka elected to field first after winning the toss at the Kennington Oval in London. Shikhar Dhawan played yet another brilliant knock, smashing 125 from 128 balls. The southpaw hammered 15 fours and one six in his fantastic innings.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (78) got India off to a wonderful start, adding 138 for the opening wicket in under 25 overs. India got off to a slow start before Shikhar Dhawan hit back-to-back boundaries off Suranga Lakmal in the sixth over to get some momentum into the innings.
The left-hander brought up a sedate fifty by guiding a half-volley from Lasith Malinga through extra cover for four as India approached the halfway mark of their innings. Even as India lost Rohit and Virat Kohli at the other end, Shikhar Dhawan continued to find the boundaries.
He reached his century by cutting Nuwan Pradeep for a four behind point in the 40th over and celebrated it by launching the bowler over fine leg for a maximum. Shikhar Dhawan’s fine innings ended when he hit Malinga to long-on. Thanks to the opener’s brilliance, India ended their innings on 321 for 6. Shikhar Dhawan’s knock was in vain, though, as Sri Lanka gunned down the total in 48.4 overs.
#1 132 not out in Dambulla - August 2017
Shikhar Dhawan came up with a sensational display of stroke-making as India trounced Sri Lanka by nine wickets in Dambulla, in the first ODI of the five-match series. The opener blazed away to an unbeaten 132 in only 90 balls as India chased down a target of 217 in 28.5 overs.
India fielded first after winning the toss and invited Sri Lanka to bat. The hosts were rolled over for 216 in 43.2 overs as India’s bowlers came up with a very good all-round show. Shikhar Dhawan then went berserk in the chase. The visitors lost Rohit Sharma (4) early, but Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli (82 not out) featured in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 197 as India cantered home.
Shikhar Dhawan slammed 20 fours and three sixes in his belligerent knock. He eased to his half-century in the 13th over of the chase, pulling a short ball from Lakshan Sandakan over midwicket for six and followed it up with another maximum to long leg off Malinga.
The boundaries kept flowing as Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli continued to attack the Lankans with no pressure at all. Shikhar Dhawan raced to his hundred with three fours off Wanindu Hasaranga in the 22nd over of the innings. The first four came via a drive past mid-off and the second via a sweep to long leg. The southpaw then sliced one past backward point to bring up his 11th ODI century.
Kohli also enjoyed himself at the other end, finding the fence at will. Deservedly, Shikhar Dhawan hit the winning runs, dancing down the track to Hasaranga and drilling one down the ground for another four. India chased the target with 127 balls in hand.