Dhawan, Dhoni Hit Half Centuries as India Post 317/6

Dhawan, Dhoni Hit Half Centuries as India Post 317/6

Shikhar Dhawan shone with a fluent 75-run knock before beleaguered skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck a gritty fifty as India finally found some form to post a competitive 317 for six in the third and final ODI against Bangladesh here today.

Sent into bat, India relied on Dhoni's 93-run stand for the fourth wicket with Ambati Rayudu (44) and Dhawan's 75-run partnership for the second wicket with Virat Kohli at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.

Suresh Raina hit a 21-ball 38, with three fours and two sixes, giving the innings a much-needed thrust.

Dhoni, who was criticised following the team's first ODI series defeat to Bangladesh and for his own poor run of form, battled his way to 69 runs off 77 balls, hitting six boundaries and a six in the process.

Dhawan, who found the fence 10 times facing 73 balls, laid the foundation and sporadically found the gaps. His innings was about immaculate timing, delicate touches and deft placement, especially through the off-side.

To start with, the intent was there till Rohit Sharma (29), in a moment of indiscretion, threw away his wicket to Mustafizur's away going delivery.

This was the third time in the series the batsman was castled by the young left-arm pacer, who has created a flutter with back-to-back five-wicket hauls in his maiden ODI series.

With 13 wickets to his credit so far, Mustafizur equalled the world record for most number of scalps in a three-ODI series, Ryan Harris being the other bowler.

A 39-run opening stand was followed by a 75-run stand for the second wicket, with Dhawan doing the bulk of scoring, courtesy some delectable drives through the off-side.

Kohli (25), who once again failed to make it big after getting his eye in, gave away his wicket while going for a needless heave on the on-side. On this occasion, Kohli was done in by the slowness of the wily Shakib Al Hasan.

Dhawan, on and off, kept the likes of Mustafizur, Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny at bay, sending them scurrying between mid-off and cover. But he too had a soft dismissal. The Delhi batsman failed to connect a long hop for the agile Nasir Hossain to complete a good catch at midwicket.

It was then left to the pair of Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu to consolidate India's innings, and the duo did that by picking up singles and twos besides hitting the occasional boundaries.

Dhoni was calculative as well as adventurous. He was not scared of stepping down the ground to the spinners and was equally at ease handling the pacers. Rayudu was not left behind, comfortably rotating the strike even as his skipper produced the big hits.

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