Shikhar’s timely ton, opens another option

With regard to the timing of his strokes, Shikhar Dhawan was imperious while making an attacking hundred against an England bowling line-up good enough, on paper at least, to be their first choice attack for the One-day Internationals.

All-rounder Tim Bresnan, their most experienced ODI bowler, was rested for the second warm-up game. But the attack wasn't without teeth. Steve Finn, six-foot seven inches tall, was retained in the squad and the other pace options Alastair Cook had were Jade Dernbach, Chris Woakes and Stuart Meaker - all medium fast.

England had posted an imposing 294, with Ian Bell scoring a century, in distinctly easier batting conditions and when Dhawan opened the innings the fast bowlers received assistance as the winter evening enveloped the Feroze Shah Kotla.

While the Indian top-order have struggled against the swing and bounce generated by the Pakistan pacers, Dhawan countered it by pulling magnificently or driving confidently. The conditions were similar to what the Pakistan batsmen struggled to cope with when they failed to chase a modest target on Sunday.

Added responsibilty

The England attack didn't exert the same pressure the Pakistan bowlers did when they bowled out India for just 167 but Dhawan had to contend with batting in the second half of the day and having to maintain a run-rate of 5.88 from the start. If the added responsibility of leading the Delhi side would have weighed on Dhawan's mind it didn't show during the 109-ball 110. His counter-attack would have also served a psychological blow to the England bowlers ahead of the first ODI match on Friday.

"This is one of my best knocks keeping in mind the quality of the England attack and the conditions. The ball was moving around and there was also bounce but equally challenging was that the odd-delivery stayed a bit low. The conditions did favour the bowlers and I am pleased to have made this hundred," Dhawan said after the match on Tuesday.

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