Finally, the historic day arrived when Afghanistan made their Test debut against India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was a great day for the Afghans and they managed to put up an impressive performance in their opening day of Test cricket. It was always going to be tough for Afganistan especially given the fact that India is the NO 1 team in the world. In their territory, India is world beaters. However, with some good spinners in their ranks, Afghanistan would have fancied their chances.
It was stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane who won the toss and elected to bat. Three potential openers were there in the playing XI. However, it was Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay who walked out in the middle. Dhawan who looked good during the IPL started off with a couple of exquisite drives. He looked in complete command of proceedings and look to play shots against an inexperienced Afghanistan attack.
The southpaw is at his dangerous best whenever he takes the attacking role. Dhawan managed to find the boundaries on a consistent basis. However, his innings would have been short-lived had Afghanistan gone for the review when the score read 40. Dhawan apparently edged a short of length delivery from Ahmadi straight to the keeper. After discussions skipper, Asghar STanikzai went against going for the review.
Dhawan cashed in on the opportunity and took the Afghan bowlers to the cleaners. He reached his century in very quick time. But the southpaw in attempting more attacking shots fell to Ahmadzai. It was a great knock by the southpaw which happened to be his 6th Test ton. Viajy also scored a century but like his partner was dismissed just after making the hundred.
Rahul too fell after making a well deserved fifty as Afghanistan came back strongly in the final session. They bagged 5 wickets for just 99 runs. The spinners were quite brilliant in their final spells and made life pretty difficult for the Indian batsmen. They eventually ended the day on 347/6 with Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya out in the middle.
Dhawan expressed his delight after the completion of the day. He became the only Indian batsman to score a century inside lunch on an opening day. “Feels great. Scoring a century in a session is a big thing. I didn’t know that not a single Indian had done that before. So it’s a great record. When I saw the pitch in the morning, it was a bit damp and I knew it was going to help the seamers.
I did my process and things went my way. (On his preparations leading into the Test match) We had a fitness test, so prepared for that. I didn’t bat too much (during the training) because I wanted to feel fresh, so just focused on my fitness. (On his dismissal) I was playing that way from ball one; it’s better to get out playing a shot than get out defending. (On India’s position at stumps) It’s a pretty good total for Day 1 and we’ll look to score more runs tomorrow, and try to pick early wickets when they bat.”