Mohali Test, Day 3: Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay dominate after Mitchell Starc's 99

In the process, Dhawan also became the highest individual scorer for India on debut, beating the previous record held by Gundappa Vishwanath (137) against Australia at the Eden Gardens in 1969-70.

updated: March 16, 2013 17:37 IST
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Mohali: Every time Australia have threatened to do well on this tour, India have crushed their hopes. India's progress has been relentless, and the waves crashed on Australia's dreams once more in a dramatic day's play at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali on Saturday (March 16). Australia, powered by the an unlikely 99 from Mitchell Starc, put 408 on the board, but could only watch in shock and awe as India's openers made a mockery of this score. Shikhar Dhawan, in the most eye-catching debut ever by an Indian batsman, shredded Australia's bowlers to race to an unbeaten 185 as India romped to 283 for no loss from only 58 overs.

When the day began, the game was tilted slightly in India's favour, with Australia having only 273 on the board with Steven Smith and the fag end of the tail still to bat. Had India polished off the innings quickly, they would have been in the driver's seat, but Starc killed that thought, hitting cleanly through the line to take Australia well past the 350 runs they craved. Starc, making the most of some indifferent bowling, cleared the infield at will, especially off Ishant Sharma, and was in kissing distance of a maiden Test hundred when he fell, against the run of play. With the field in saving the single, and Ishant finally getting the ball in the right areas, Starc poked at one to be well caught by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. With 408 first-innings runs on the board and an entire day lost to rain, Australia would have considered themselves safe, but that did not take into account Dhawan's riposte.

With one over to play before lunch, Murali Vijay took strike, allowing the debutant to get a feel for the conditions without being in any danger. When India returned after the break, it became clear that Dhawan needed no such buffer. Having waited 81 first-class matches and 5679 runs for a chance to show that he was good enough to play Test cricket, Dhawan wasted little time in taking the attack to the Australians. Although he took almost no risks, and a hallmark of his innings was the ability to keep the ball along the ground even when hitting on the up, Dhawan left Vijay far behind early on.

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