Dhawan`s innings was like watching highlights package: Ontong
Pretoria: The regularity with which Shikhar Dhawan hit boundaries off his bowlers made Justin Ontong feel as if he was watching a ‘highlights package’ where only boundaries and sixes are shown.
Dhawan hit 30 boundaries and seven sixes in his unbelievable 248 against South Africa A in a tri-series encounter on Monday.
"Dhawan summed up conditions quickly. Every shot he hit found the gap or went over the fielders. It was like watching a highlights package. He hit so many good shots, it`s hard to pick out one that stood out. There were a few sixes that went into the construction site," Ontong told ESPN Cricinfo after the match.
The South African ODI specialist termed it the best ever innings he has watched.
"It was probably the best one-day innings I`ve seen. But I am also really proud of the boys. We showed some character when we were batting and if someone batted through, we could have won the game."
Ontong expressed his helplessness that his bowlers were unable to stop Dhawan.
"There was nothing the bowlers could do," Ontong said. "They (SA bowlers) were bowling the lines and lengths they wanted to be bowling and he just hit them off those lines and lengths."
While chasing 434, the home team did admirably well as coach Vincent Barnes had egged them on to make a match of it and also cited the example of senior team`s historic run-chase against the Australians seven years back.
"There was a bit of humour at the lunch break, because that`s what you need in situations like that, " Ontong said.
"Some of the boys had their heads down but the coach, Vincent Barnes, came and said a few words.
He told us that he was part of that 438 game and that if we put on partnerships we could get there."
Ontong conceded that there was nothing in the pitch for the bowlers.
"It was a flat wicket with nothing in it and for 80 percent of the time we chased really well. It`s not every day you get two guys scoring a hundred and the team is still on the losing side. Actually, its not every day you get four hundreds in a one-day match."
"Reeza and Vaughn scored two very special hundreds and our bowlers were exposed to international players of top quality. When you play ODI cricket, you will sometimes play on flat wickets, although this one was maybe a little flatter than you get elsewhere and the outfield was also very quick," Ontong concluded.