Shikhar Dhawan has been in and out of the Indian Test side and has been given an extended run by the selectors despite some poor performances. But just when time seemed to have run out for the left-hander, with Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul becoming India's first-choice openers, Dhawan made a massive claim to dislodge one of the two by smashing his fifth Test century on Day 1 of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium on Wednesday. The 31-year-old's three-figure put India in a dominant position.
Dhawan was not even in the 16-member India squad for the three-match Test series to start with. However, regular opener Murali Vijay was ruled out of the Test series due to a wrist injury, paving the way for Dhawan's return.
Dhawan seems to have taking a liking to the Galle wicket, having scored a hundred against Sri Lanka in 2015 when India last came visiting.
India had lost Abhinav Mukund early on a placid batting track. But Cheteshwar Pujara and Dhawan went about their business in meticulous fashion, milking the Sri Lankan bowlers for singles and doubles at will.
Dhawan started playing his shots soon after. Besides a dropped catch, he looked in no trouble whatsoever. Asela Gunaratne being the culprit after Dhawan had edged a widish delivery to second slip.
Prior to the Galle Test, Dhawan had played 23 Tests, averaging 38.52 with four Test hundreds to his name. He last played a Test for India in 2016 against New Zealand in a home series.
Virat Kohli-led India play 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and one T20I against Sri Lanka during the long series that begins end July. The three Test matches will be played at Galle, Colombo and Kandy, respectively.
This is the first time the two countries will be playing a full series (includes all three formats) in eight years. After the Test series, India are scheduled to play five one-dayers starting August 20 before signing off with a lone Twenty20 on September 6.