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HARARE (AFP) – Shikhar Dhawan is relishing the challenges that face opening batsmen under the testing conditions imposed by the latest one-day international laws, having scored his third century in two months to see India to a 58-run victory over Zimbabwe on Friday.
Dhawan enjoyed more than his fair share of luck as India took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, surviving two dropped catches as well as a catch off a no-ball on his way to 116 -- his highest one-day score.
However opening batsmen such as Dhawan would argue that they deserve some fortune under the current laws, with the use of two new balls in one-day internationals tilting the balance back towards the bowlers.
"It's more difficult nowadays because you've got new balls from both ends," Dhawan said. "When the ball is swinging you really need to play close to your body.
"You'll see that in the first 10 overs, openers are not scoring that many nowadays because the ball is new and it swings a lot and you have to be more careful."
Despite gifting Dhawan three lives, Zimbabwe still made inroads into the Indian batting line-up as they reduced the tourists to 65 for four, only for Dhawan to put on a 159-run stand with Dinesh Karthik that changed the course of the match.
"It was a very important partnership which brought us back into the game, because we knew that we had to score big runs on this wicket because it gets much better in the second innings," said Dhawan. "Then things went our way."
After India had finished on 294 for eight in their 50 overs, Zimbabwe made a bright start to their reply when Vusi Sibanda's bold 55 took them to 109 for one after 20 overs.
However Jaydev Unadkat effected two dismissals in the next over, and Zimbabwe faded to a final total of 236 for nine.
"After 20 overs I thought we were going to win the game, even though we let them get away with a lot more runs," Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller said.
"I thought we had a chance but then we made some silly errors."
The third match of the series takes place at Harare on Sunday.