C365 player of the week: Shikhar Dhawan

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This weekend was a veritable feast of enthralling cricket, with five series on the go around the world, but no performance thrilled fans as much as the one by India opener Shikhar Dhawan, who made 187 off just 174 balls in Mohali.

This weekend was a veritable feast of enthralling cricket, with five series on the go around the world, but no performance thrilled fans as much as the one by India opener Shikhar Dhawan, who made 187 off just 174 balls in Mohali.

The Delhi batsman, on debut and batting in place of the dropped Virender Sehwag, blitzed his way to the fastest-ever Test century, using just 85 deliveries to reach his ton.

It was also the first century on debut by an Indian opener (Sehwag made 105 on debut but wasn't opening, in case you're about to argue), and the highest score by an Indian on debut.

His partnership with Murali Vijay (153), going at five to the over to reach 289, was the third highest by Indian openers, and set the platform for India's 499, which left Australia with an annoying 91-run deficit.

The Aussies were then all out for 223, leaving India an exciting 133 to win late on the final day. Dhawan's attitude and pace set the tone for the win, as the match seemed to be heading for a draw after day one was washed out.

While Dhawan has played five ODIs for India, he is better known as an IPL player. But don't let the pace of his innings fool you, there was nothing T20-esque about it. He played so many beautiful straight shots that our text commentator exclaimed, "I don't know how many more ways I can describe a cover drive!"

He did play some interesting shots though, with a strange vertical bat paddle down the leg side to fine leg, two balls in a row, the most memorable. He wasn't risky though, and played each ball on its merit, including two huge sixes.

To be fair, the hapless Aussies had no idea how to bowl to him, and he punished every short, wide, or half-volleyed delivery. Michael Clarke was so frustrated that he actually stamped his feet and shouted in irritation after one of Dhawan's 35 boundaries.

Dhawan's cheeky twirl of his moustache as he walked off at the end of his knock was worth the price of admission too.

Meanwhile, honourable mentions must also go to South Africa batsmen Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, who scored thrilling centuries (122 and 128 respectively) against Pakistan as the Proteas made 343 in the third ODI. The brave visitors were then all out for 309, so the extra runs were very much needed.

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

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