India vs Afghanistan: History for Shikhar Dhawan on Afghan's big day
Opener becomes first Indian to score a ton in first session; hosts 347-6 on Day 1
Rashid Khan wicketless until his 21st over, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman wicketless until his 11th, Mohd Nabi wicketless. Period. Shikar Dhawan century, Murali Vijay century, KL Rahul, the usual half-century. Welcome to Test cricket Afghanistan, welcome to reality. Then again it was a matter of learning from it all and coming back the better for it, which they did as India, 284 for two at one stage, ended the day on 347 for six.
The rain interruptions in the post-lunch and tea sessions worked more for the visitors, more so for Rashid in his third spell during the fag end of the extended day's play, as the leggie finally looked like the bowler he can be. The day though started nice and bright but once Ajinkya Rahane had won the toss and elected to bat on the batting-friendly Chinnaswamy Stadium here yesterday, things went dim for the visitors.
There wasn't much life on the track, preparations having been hit by occasional showers in the week leading up to the historic Test. And it was a factor fully exploited by the Indian openers Vijay (105) and Dhawan first and India's latest No. 3 Rahul later, whose inclusion meant Karun Nair had to warm the bench. Dhawan was, by far, the initial aggressor and Vijay, typically the more watchful one. A century before lunch is a rare feat but for the left-hander it was almost a walk in the park.
Afghanistan's spinners just weren't allowed to settle. Rashid was taken for 13 runs off his first over, Mujeeb went for 32 from his four-over first spell though he could argue that it was still better than Rashid's opening spell of 12-0-82-0. The googly, which Rashid overused, was read with ease as Dhawan (107 off 96 balls) waded into him at every opportunity. And there were many as Rashid pitched short, bowled full tosses, all perhaps a case of nerves caused by the occasion and the format. Dhawan, who could well have been dismissed caught behind off the hardworking pacer Wafadar, when on 24, but escaped as skipper Asghar Stanikzai didn't opt for the review, cut the short ball with ferocity and stepped out and tonked the ball that was floated up, leaving the bowlers confounded.
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