India v Australia ODIs - Men's
Dhawan blitz locks in India openers
After a string of low scores Shikhar Dhawan launched a breathtaking assault in Mohali to ease any fears about his form
Sam Ferris at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
10 March 2019, 10:49 PM AEST
Swashbuckling India opener Shikhar Dhawan blasted his way back into form with a blazing century in the fourth ODI against Australia in Mohali.
Dhawan hit 143, his 16th ODI century, in India's commanding first innings total of 9-358 after the hosts won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch described as a "belter" by captain Virat Kohli.
No bowler was spared as Dhawan muscled 18 fours and three sixes in 154 minutes at the crease before his stay ended when he was bowled by Pat Cummins (5-70) attempting to launch his fourth maximum.
Dhawan and fellow opener Rohit Sharma – who made a brutal 95 – combined for 193, the highest first-wicket stand at PCA Stadium. Their partnership eclipsed the previous best opening stand of 155 by New Zealand's Nathan Astle and Bryan Young against Pakistan in 1997.
💯 for Shikhar Dhawan. Impressive knock for his 16th ODI ton. Coming in 97 balls, with 12 fours and a six. IND 1-201.LIVE: https://t.co/iCK26mSpUz #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/K6dpmMHIUk— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 10, 2019
The left-hander had gone 17 innings without a century, with a top score of just 28 in his past six knocks, prompting some pundits in India to wonder aloud if the national team should make a change at the top of the order for the World Cup.
Adding to the pressure on Dhawan, back-up opener KL Rahul had been recalled into the XI for this fourth ODI, to come in at No.3.
But any form concerns were quickly erased with a brilliant hundred, India's fifth highest individual score against Australia in ODI cricket.
Australia will need to create history if they are to win the fourth ODI and keep the five-match series alive.
The highest successful run chase at PCA Stadium is Pakistan's 6-322 against India in November 2007, while Australia hold the second-best chase when they made 6-304 to beat India in October 2013.
In that match five-and-a-half years ago, James Faulkner hit a whirlwind 64 from 39 balls with six sixes to clinch victory with three balls to spare.
In fact, Australia's highest successful run chase ever is 8-334 against England at the SCG in 2011.
But the total could have been a lot higher if not for Kohli suffering a rare failure in the 50-over format.
Kohli made seven, just his second single-figure score in his past 31 ODI innings. He made three in Sydney in January, with Australia paceman Jhye Richardson the bowler on both occasions.
Richardson now has Kohli four times in the five innings they faced off having taken his wicket in each of game of the three-match Gillette ODI Series in Australia in January.
Qantas Tour of India
First T20: Australia won by three wickets
Second T20: Australia won by seven wickets
First ODI: India won by six wickets
Second ODI: India won by eight runs
Third ODI: Australia won by 32 runs
Fourth ODI: March 10, Mohali
Fifth ODI: March 13, Delhi