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Beyond the boundary: Twirl it like Dhawan.

IF you like to enjoy the sheer thrill of twirling the moustache you need to have a fair growth of hair on your upper lip, which Shikhar Dhawan has had for quite some time, and get yourself in the perfect mood to do a signature twirl, which he could not even once in the last two months or so. That was pretty long, boring and unfortunate for someone who relished every such prospect. And that was why it was awesome to see Dhawan halt for a second to reach out to the hairy side of his upper lip and do a quick twirl with a naughty, fleeting smile on his face on the walk back to the dressing room at the end of India's brutal run chase at Edgbaston. Until Tuesday and till that moment, Dhawan had been condemned to indulge in his pet peeve in isolation, and it seemed silly every time he was seen twisting pensively away at it after getting out poking at deliveries outside off stump. Moments after the series-winning victory, Dhawan lined up with the other, better half of the new opening partnership for a post-match chat with StarSports, and they looked obviously happy for each other. It may be too early to jump at conclusions, but they seemed to tell us that India have just discovered the best two to do the opening rites after a pretty long, painful search. The opportunity available at present is too bright to shut the door on. There is a visible, entertaining streak of aggression in both Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawan, and if you have any doubt, just look at what they did at Edgbaston. Both scored half centuries in an identical fashion, with a mighty heave of the bat that soared above the ropes. Most batsmen slow down when they are in the vicinity of such landmarks, and if you thought it just happened in the case of Rahane and Dhawan, you may have missed the bus. It happened just the way Rahane planned. "I was planning to hit a six when I was on 44," Rahane said after the match, and in the case of Dhawan such delightful rushes of adrenaline is the norm, not the aberration. Rahane had shown how good he was at playing the waiting game at Lord's when England's bowlers were at their best in conditions familiar and ideal for their kind of bowling. Such a lot of patience is rubbish for the shorter formats, and he has been showing his positive intent when opportunities came his way before the England tour, but this English summer is really helping Rahane bloom and spread the fragrance. At Cardiff, coming in at No. 4, he displayed how best he could combine patience and aggression, and at Trent Bridge he eased himself into the role as an opener. At Edgbaston, in the company of Dhawan, he showed the way to play yourself, and the team, in. The first over of the Indian innings produced just one run, two in the second, nothing in the third and one more in the fourth. By then Rahane faced 15 balls, got a feel of the pitch and got to know James Anderson and Harry Gurney up, close and at the moment. That was just enough. Anderson was dispatched to the ropes four times in the next over, and a few balls later, Dhawan sent Gurney through square leg for his first boundary, before cracking three fours in the first over of Chris Woakes. The battle was confidently taken into the enemy's camp. If Indian cricket fans were upset about anything at the end of the day it was about the small matter of posting a victory without losing a wicket, which looked very much on the cards until Rahane hit a low full toss from Gurney straight into the man (Cook) at cover point when the milestone was just 24 runs away. Everything else was just perfect for any Indian to sit back and search for that fair growth on the upper lip to do a proud twirl to celebrate the first ODI series victory in England in 24 years.. The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Sep 3, 2014
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