Virat Kohli may have scored more on the day, but it was Shikhar Dhawan's innings of 84 runs that laid the foundation for India's threatening score in the first Test against West Indies. Saying the opener's job requires “a big heart”, Dhawan also praised Pujara and Kohli for their contrasting knocks.
"I think opening is the toughest work and you need a big heart for it. New wicket, new ball and they bowl with full energy and as an opener your technique should also be good because you have to leave a lot of balls and you need patience as well. Middle order needs it [patience] too but new ball has its own challenge. Vijay got a good ball, it was a very quick ball. I was luckier in that sense so Gabriel was bowling really well and with time you get that experience.
"Now I know better from the past about which balls to leave and that is from experience and it helps improve the game and my shot selection and it showed in the partnership with Pujara and Kohli," Dhawan said in the post-match press conference.
Dhawan did express his disappointment at missing out on what would have been his fifth Test century. He said, “Yes. I felt sad and disappointed that I got out, especially, when I was set and scoring runs. I had spent enough of time in the middle. But at the same time, I am happy that I have started on a good note and would like to carry on my good performance in the upcoming innings and matches.”
Dhawan also praised his skipper Virat Kohli, who scored his 12th Test century, with whom he formed a crucial third-wicket partnership of 105 runs in 27.1 overs, after Pujara fell for 16. However, the southpaw insisted that the 60-run partnership with Pujara was equally important for the team.
"He has played a tremendous knock and scored a hundred and continued scoring. Hopefully he scores big runs and gets a double-hundred after 150. It feels good to bat with him and we were rotating strike and scoring runs at a good pace. I feel that made a difference because we made the partnership in 120 balls or something. That is a good thing and it is always a pleasure to watch Virat, the way he times the ball.
"My partnership with Pujara was also important because the ball was new at that time and it was important to leave the ball at that time. The middle order got benefit of that because the ball was older and my partnership with Virat benefited from that," Dhawan explained.
Dhawan said that India are currently in a strong position in the match after scoring 302/4 on the first day of the Test, especially considering the fact that they are playing with five batsmen. The opener suggested that the team is looking to bat only once on this slow surface and will look to post a big total in the first innings.
"We are in a good position especially because we are playing with only five batsmen," Dhawan said. "So we are in a good position and we will want to bat as long as possible tomorrow, that will also tire them out. Good thing is we have Virat set and batting," Dhawan concluded.