GALLE, Sri Lanka: Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan celebrated his return to Test cricket with a blazing career-best 190 on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.
The left-hander struck 31 boundaries in his sparkling 168-ball knock to give the tourists a flying start after skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat under overcast sky.
Dhawan shared 253 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara (75 not out), the highest second wicket stand for India against Sri Lanka, to take the visitors to 282-2 at tea.
Dhawan, 31, received a standing ovation from his teammates in the dressing room upon notching the fifth Test century of his career.
The century was especially sweet for Dhawan, who was forced to sit out of India´s last 11 Tests following a dip in form and a string of poor scores.
Dhawan´s last Test century was at the same venue, during India´s tour of the island nation in 2015. India lost the Galle match but went on to win the remaining two games to pocket the series 2-1.
Dhawan, who was on 64 at lunch, was in line for a maiden double century but offered a simple catch to Angelo Mathews at mid-off, gifting pacer Nuwan Pradeep his second wicket of the day.
The hosts had squandered a golden chance to dismiss Dhawan on 31 when Asela Gunaratne dropped the batsman at second slip and hurt his already heavily strapped left wrist.
Medics rushed to attend to Gunaratne, who was writhing in pain before walking off the ground.
Dhawan toyed with the toothless Sri Lankan attack, once hitting new skipper Rangana Herath for two boundaries on the trot.
The Indians got an early jolt when Dhawan´s opening partner Abhinav Mukund edged Pradeep behind to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella in the eighth over.
Mukund, who opened the batting after Lokesh Rahul was ruled out with illness, made 12.
India handed a Test cap to all-rounder Hardik Pandya and Sri Lanka brought in debutant Danushka Gunathilaka.