Cricket - Dhawan's record-breaking ton on debut puts India in charge

India's Shikhar Dhawan made one of the greatest debuts in Test cricket history as he stormed to a century against Australia on the third day of the third Test in Mohali.

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Shikhar Dhawan

Records tumbled in Mohali as opener Shikhar Dhawan led India's superb response to Australia's first innings of 408 in the third Test as the hosts posted 283 without loss at stumps.

The left-hander's boundary-laden onslaught captured the crowd's attention even more than his distinctive handlebar moustache as he took just 85 balls to reach three figures. It was the fastest recorded century on Test debut, beating the 93-ball mark set by the West Indies' Dwayne Smith against South Africa in 2004.

By the time Dhawan closed on 185 he had made the highest ever score by an Indian debutant, beating Gundappa Viswanath's 137 back in 1969, while he and Murali Vijay, whose unbeaten 83 went almost unheralded, set a record opening partnership on this ground.

Australia's Mitchell Starc, who was dismissed one run short of a deserved hundred, and Steve Smith (92) put on 97 before Smith, who had looked comfortable throughout, was tempted out of his crease by Pragyan Ojha and stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

That encouraged Starc to attack more, though, claiming boundaries almost at will off Ojha and punching a short ball from Ravichandran Ashwin for four. But, needing one for his century, he played and missed twice outside off stump at Ishant Sharma, then made contact the third time and Dhoni snaffled the catch. Xavier Doherty was the last man out - lbw to Ashwin.

Dhawan made a blistering start in the Indian reply and took an early liking to the medium pace of Moises Henriques, with two boundaries off his third over and two more in his next. That took him to 40 from 39 balls, 36 of them in fours, and he moved past 50 at better than a run a ball with three more boundaries off spinners Doherty and Nathan Lyon.

The more restrained Vijay joined in the fun with two sixes in an expensive Lyon over and, when Starc's return was greeted in typical style by Dhawan, the century partnership was on the board inside 22 overs. Dhawan continued scoring quickly, though he was fortunate to see an edge through the slips find the rope to take him to 98.

As if his innings was not remarkable enough, he reached his ton with a five when he dived to complete a risky single and the throw at the stumps flashed past for four overthrows. Dhawan hit 21 fours and his innings was the fourth-fastest Test century by an Indian batsman, a list headed by 74-ball tons from Kapil Dev and Mohammad Azharuddin.

Incredibly, Dhawan's innings might have finished before it even began: he was technically out when the first delivery of the innings slipped out of Mitchell Starc's hand and clipped the stumps at the non-striker's end, with Dhawan out of his ground.

But as is traditional in such circumstances the Australians declined to appeal, and Dhawan took full advantage of his let-off.

Vijay was unbeaten on 42 at tea and got his moment in the spotlight in the fifth over of the evening, clipping Lyon for two to bring up a 103-ball half-century. The 200 partnership came up with three Dhawan boundaries in one Starc over and Lyon then suffered the same fate before Dhawan reached 150 from 131 balls.

Smith could not stem the flow of runs, twice disappearing for back-to-back boundaries, and the punishment continued for all Australia's bowlers until the close when Dhawan emerged from a deserved mass of handshakes for a triumphant, moustache-twirling walk to the pavilion.

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