Shikhar Dhawan
Credits: BCCI

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.

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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.

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:

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