Cardiff: Shikhar Dhawan put it down to "patience" as the trick to his maiden ODI century at the Swalec Stadium as India started their campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy on a winning note.
Dhawan slammed a brilliant 114 that helped India score an imposing 331 for seven against South Africa in the opening match of the tournament.
"I am happy with the knock I played but happier because we won a game that was actually getting quite close," he told reporters in a post-match chat.
There was another 'maiden' experience for Dhawan. When the team left Indian shores it was almost certain that the left-handed Dhawan would open the batting with Murali Vijay. But today's decisive 127-run opening stand almost certainly means Dhawan's partner for the rest of the group matches will be Rohit Sharma, who scored a polished 65.
"It was nice to play with Rohit. He is such a pleasure to watch and really runs the singles very well. We adjusted to the conditions very well and once we settled down, the runs started coming. It was quite a job," Dhawan said.
Dhawan said the absence of Dale Steyn did not make the South African attack any weaker.
"Guys like (Morne) Morkel and Ryan McLaren are well known names in the world of fast bowling. So we knew they would attack us from the start. But we took our time to settle down and then scored off their pace," Dhawan said.
"I quite enjoy taking pressure but today it was more about waiting for the loose balls. The wicket was good to bat but it was important not to rush into strokes. This strategy worked very well after the first powerplay," Dhawan said.
The exposure to "nets in English conditions" did help him prepare for the game.
As for stepping out to the fastest of bowlers, Dhawan said: "It's my nature. Courage comes normally to me. I am used to it."
The Delhi left-hander will now have to keep this form going as India play West Indies and Pakistan next in what is clearly the Group of Death.
First Published On : Jun 7, 2013 07:23 IST