In all likelihood, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will open the innings for the Indians in the second ODI against England. Their partnership has been a mixed bag for India. They began brilliantly in the early half of their alliance, but things have tapered off during the second half of their partnership. Like the Dhawan-Murali Vijay opening combo in Tests, the Dhawan-Sharma partnership also seems unsteady as of now. But, it is the best option India has presently, so it is only fair that they carry on with the same opening combination in England.
Dhawan and Sharma have a superb overall record as an opening pair. Then again, they have only featured as a pair for just over a year. Dhawan and Sharma were highly successful during the Champions Trophy in England, and their wonderful partnerships were among the key reasons why India ended up winning the trophy. While Dhawan had scores of 114, 102 not out, 48, 68 and 31 in the tournament, Sharma chipped in with useful contributions as well. He made 65, 52, 18, 33 and 9. Except for the final, Sharma and Dhawan gave India solid starts in the event.
In the tri-series that followed in West Indies, there wasn’t much challenge for India, and hence Dhawan and Sharma got out plenty of times after getting starts. India still managed to pull off a win in the final. Things were not too different in Zimbabwe. Dhawan did get a hundred in one of the games, and made 17, 35 and 41 in the other three matches. Sharma, on the other hand, made 20, 1, 14 and 64 not out. Except for the last match, there wasn’t much in terms of partnership during the series.
Dhawan and Sharma hit their peak during the home series against Australia, where they featured in a number of hundred-run stands, each taking turns to outdo the other. Dhawan had one hundred and two fifties while Sharma chipped in with one big hundred and a double hundred apart from a half-century. It was in South Africa and New Zealand they were really tested, and the pair flopped. Dhawan made 12, 0, 32, 12, 28 and 9. Sharma, on the other hand, had scores of 18, 19, 3, 20, 39, 79 and 4. They will now be under pressure to prove themselves as a stable opening all over again in England.
--By A Cricket Analyst