Mohali: When he walked off the field, head held high, unconquered on 183, Shikhar Dhawan broke stride just before reaching the ropes. Reacting to the excitement in the dressing-room and the exuberant exhortations of Harbhajan Singh, Dhawan stopped to style his moustache. Twirling it up in a manner that is likely to be widely copied after his sensational debut, Dhawan returned to the warm embrace of his team. Soon after, he spoke to the media about what the day meant to him.
On what it feels like to achieve what he did
It feels very good. I'd like to thank God. It was a dream for me to score so well on my debut. I've been working hard since I was dropped after I played my last One-Day International for India. I worked really hard and changed myself and became a more mature player. I was waiting for a chance. I did very well in the domestic circuit, and was waiting for a chance to play in international cricket. I guess that went my way.
On whether he was nervous nearing his half-century or century
I was nervous, but you didn't realise it. No, I was certainly nervous, but I wasn't as nervous as I used to be earlier.
On whether he was in a hurry to score quickly
No, I wasn't really playing in a hurry. The fours were going on their own after the ball hit the bat... maybe that's why you thought I was in a hurry. But I guess I was in a good flow today. I felt my shot selection was good and I played according to how I'd assessed the wicket. I didn't feel that I rushed things.
On whether there was a strategy to attack the bowlers
No, there was no such strategy. It was only that we had to play on the merit of the ball... then I was hitting the ball well, I was middling the ball very nicely and the runs came on their own. My only focus was that I'd play the ball on merit.
On what it felt like to reach a hundred on Test debut
It was a very satisfying feeling and I still remember when I debuted for India in ODIs and got out on zero against Australia. And then (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and (Suresh) Raina told me that the players who've got out on zero for India on debut, they went really big. This time I was nervous, that it was again Australia on my Test debut, because I'd scored zero then. So I was a bit nervous. But everything went well and I was really happy that I grabbed this opportunity and scored a century.
On the run out chance that never was
When the ball hit the wicket, I was laughing. It was lunch after that over... I was laughing in the dressing-room, that this history could have been created that without facing a ball I would have been out and back in the dressing-room. Yes, I and Murali Vijay have played together many times. One feels very good, when your partner comes to you to congratulate for even your first run. When my teammates are so happy for my century, I feel really happy about it.
On having played Mitchell Starc in Australia before
I've faced them, Starc and (James) Pattinson, in the Emerging Trophy... I knew their bowling but of course they're very good bowlers, I wanted to respect their good deliveries but if I got a loose ball, I wanted to go for it.
On receiving his Test cap from Sachin Tendulkar
It was a great moment for me to get my cap from Sachin paaji... it is always a great honour to play with him. As a kid, we all have dreamed that we wanted to play with Sachin paaji, and that dream has come true. He told me that we all have known you as a gutsy player, and you've been performing well in the domestic circuit. We'd like to see your gutsy nature and shots over here. I feel with this partnership, we're in a very good spot at the moment. Of course it will be really helpful for our side to get a result.