It was always going to be tough for Afghanistan to impress straightaway in Test cricket. What made their task even tougher was that they were up against a side which is at the top of ICC Test rankings for about two years now. However, towards the end of their first day in Test cricket, they showed a glimpse of what they can achieve as they fought back strongly after India’s stunning start with the bat. At stumps, India were 347 for 6.
Right from the toss till the last ball of the day, nothing much went Afghanistan’s way. India skipper Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and decided to bat first. And his decision was fully backed by openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. While Vijay played his usual game, Dhawan took the Afghans to the cleaners.
The southpaw gave the visitors a reality check on what Test cricket is all about by slamming an 87-ball ton. By the time the first session ended, India had raced away to 158 for no loss. In the process, Dhawan became the first ever Indian batsman to score a century in the first session of a Test match.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 14, 2018
Dhawan hit Rashid Khan for three boundaries to complete a half-century in 47 balls. The hundred also came off the same bowler as Dhawan hit a flowing cover drive to reach the milestone. On the other hand, Vijay looked more than happy to play the role of second fiddle. Overall, India hit 25 boundaries and four sixes in the first session, thus fully stamping their authority over Test cricket’s latest entrants.
Afghanistan finally heaved a sigh of relief when Yamin Ahmadzai sent back Dhawan soon after lunch. The opening batsman departed after scoring 107 off 96 balls.
The wicket, however, did not bring any respite for the visitors as Vijay and KL Rahul piled more misery on them. India were 248 for 1 before tea was called due to rain. After a lengthy delay, Vijay completed his ton while Rahul reached his fifty. Afghanistan then managed to get something to cheer about by dismissing both Vijay and Rahul in quick succession, reducing India to 284 for 3 from 280 for 1. Vijay scored 105 while Rahul scored 54.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane then steadied the ship, taking the score past the 300-run mark. The partnership, however did not last long as Rashid Khan sent back Rahane for 10 to reduce India to 318 for 4. 10 runs later, Mujeeb Ur Rahman sent back Pujara for 35 to help Afghanistan claw their way back in the game. Even before India could recover those setbacks, Dinesh Karthik departed too after being run out on 4. Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin then helped India finish the day without any further setback.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the day’s play:
— Abhishek Mukherjee (@ovshake42) June 14, 2018
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have given an excellent demonstration of how not to bat when the team is in a dominant position. Rahane has serious technical problems against spin. #INDvAFG
— Nitin Naik (@toi_nitinnayak) June 14, 2018
— Prashant Paul (@PrashantSport) June 14, 2018
India can get about 1000 in this innings. Afghanistan need to find something, at least bowl to your fields.
— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) June 14, 2018
Arson baad ek Rahul number teen par. #INDvAFG
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 14, 2018
Shikhar Dhawan u beauty ❤❤?
7 th Ton ? in Test
It's been ruthless display by GABBAR & has toyed Afghanistan mystery spinners RASHID KHAN MUJEEB ?#INDvAFG
— ABHINAY SINGH ?? (@abhisatna) June 14, 2018
— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) June 14, 2018
Rahul coming in at no.3 instead of Pujara is bigger surprise than Dhwan falling soon after lunch…
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) June 14, 2018
Stanikzai can now claim to have better seamers than India ?
— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) June 14, 2018
Brilliant innings from Shikhar Dhawan. 100 before lunch is a top effort. Rashid and Mujeeb just hurrying through the overs and bowling all over the place #INDvAFG
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) June 14, 2018
Rashid Khan has gone at an ER of 7.28 in the first session. His T20I & ODI ER is 5.93 & 3.96 respectively #INDvAFG
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) June 14, 2018
— Jatin Sapru (@jatinsapru) June 14, 2018
Batsmen batting like they are in nets and then walking back soon after completing their milestones. This seems like a warm-up game for India so far. #IndvAfg
— Shubh AggarWall (@shubh_chintak) June 14, 2018
Most test 100s less than 100 balls by Indian:
6 ~ Sehwag
3 ~ Kapil Dev
2 ~ Azhar/Dhawan
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) June 14, 2018
Breaking news: Shikhar Dhawan got arrested after child (Rashid Khan) abuse. ? #INDvAFG
— ßumrah ☄ (@fake_bumrah_) June 14, 2018
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) June 14, 2018
Shikhar Dhawan becomes just 6th batsman in Test history and first Indian to score 100 before lunch on day-one.
Previous five: David Warner, Majid Khan, Don Bradman, Charlie Macartney, Victor Trumper. #INDvAFG
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) June 14, 2018
Shikhar Dhawan seen yawning at the crease before the first ball of this historic Test match, against the backdrop of a near empty stadium. Says a lot. #INDvAFG
— Jamie Alter (@jamie_alterTOI) June 14, 2018
I know there's a football tournament starting today but the image of these 11 men in resplendent red caps walking out to play TEST CRICKET for Afghanistan has to be the sports story of the day #INDvAFG
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) June 14, 2018
The enormity of 11 debutants in a team takes a while to sink in. We often talk about nerves, when a debutant makes his first appearance. We say he will be targeted by the opposition. There are 11 of those targets available today. #IndvAfg
— cricBC (@cricBC) June 14, 2018
Massive congratulations to @ACBofficials. The rise of Afghanistani cricket from Peshawar refugee camps to a Test nation is one of the greatest stories in sport. Whatever the result in Bangalore the fact they are even playing is a victory for our sport & Afghanistan. #IndvAfg
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) June 14, 2018
Afghanistan are making their Test debut today. If Americans watched cricket, there would be a big-budget Hollywood dramatization already in the works, because this is not just one of the most remarkable stories in cricket history, but in all of world sport. #INDvAFG
— Brydon Coverdale (@brydoncoverdale) June 14, 2018