DHAWAN, VIJAY HIT TONS, BUT AFGHANISTAN CLAW BACK
Openers raise 168 before visitors fight back
BANGALORE: Afghanistan were given a rough introduction to Test cricket with both India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay helping themselves to superb centuries on the opening day of the one-off match on Thursday.
By the end of the day, India had posted 347/6 in 78 overs, despite two rain interruptions that saw over 100 minutes of play lost at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Shikhar Dhawan (107 – 96b, 19x4, 3x6) became the first India batsman to score a Test century before lunch on Day 1 while Vijay (105 – 153b, 15x4, 1x6) reached his 12th century in a more sedate fashion.
It was a historic day for wartorn Afghanistan, but while their pacers rose to the occasion, the fab spin trio of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman got hammered all around the park in the first two sessions of play. Rashid and Mujeeb did come back in the last hour, troubling the batsmen with their variations, showing a glimpse of what could have been had they found their line and length earlier in the day.
After going for a plenty for most of the day, Rashid came to his own when the ball got older, castling stand-in India skipper Ajinkya Rahane for 10. Mujeeb at the other end troubled Pujara with variations before having him caught at leg gully for 35.
Afghan pacers Yamin Ahmadzai and Wafadar tried to keep things tight but too many loose balls meant the India openers were never troubled. The openers played contrasting innings. While Dhawan was adventurous and looked to dominate, Vijay waited patiently for scoring opportunities.
▪ Shikhar Dhawan scored his century before lunch.