India vs Afghan, Day 1: Dhawan becomes 1st Indian to score 100 before lunch

India opener Shikhar Dhawan on Thursday became the first Indian in the history of cricket to hit a century before lunch on the first day of the historic India vs Afghanistan one-off test match. Earlier this morning, India won the toss and elected to bat first on the green-looking pitch of Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.

In the first session, the Afghanistan bowlers seemed rather lacklustre, with little experience, and Shikhar Dhawan smashed them all around the ground. Also hammered by Dhawan was Afghanistan premier turner Rashid Khan, who leaked runs at an economy rate of 6.16 runs per over. Just before lunch would be announced, Dhawan completed his 7th century in the 26th over of the innings. Before him, Virendra Sehwag had come very close to achieving the glory of become the first Indian to hit a century before lunch, but he had missed the milestone by 1 run against West Indies in 2006.

India vs Afghanistan, first Session

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Seasoned opener Shikhar Dhawan smashed a quickfire century to help India pile 158/0 at lunch in the lop-sided opening session on day 1 of the one-off Test against debutants Afghanistan at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. At the break, Murali Vijay (41 not out) and Dhawan (104 not out) went back intact, leaving Afghanistan to rethink over their strategies in their first ever Test match. Dhawan looked in sublime touch right from the start, punishing the pace duo of Yamin Ahmadzai and Wafadar for glorious boundaries before sending his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammate Rashid Khan to the cleaners. In the first over Rashid khan conceded 13 runs. The Delhi southpaw has now become the only Indian to score a century in the opening session of a Test match. With Vijay playing sedate innings at the other end, Dhawan looked unstoppable and got to his seventh test ton in mere 87 balls even as the famed Afghan spin trio of Mohammed Nabi, Rashid and Mujeeb Ur Rahman seemed all at sea with this format. With the M Chinnaswamy track offering a bit of movement for the quicks, and some spin for the slower bowlers, the left-hander looked unperturbed as he took Rashid for three consecutive boundaries, including a six before launching the Mujeeb for another three back to back fours. While Dhawan’s 91-ball unbeaten effort contained 19 fours and three massive sixes, Vijay’s watchful innings came off 72 deliveries and comprised six fours and a six.

After winning the toss, skipper Ajinkya Rahane said that it was a historic moment for Afghanistan and that he was really excited about the match. “It’s important to start well after coming off the IPL. It is a historic moment for Afghanistan, I’m really excited,” Rahane said. Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai, likewise, said: “Very proud moment. All guys have first-class experience. Inshallah, we can do well. Maybe the first one hour it will be a good wicket for bowling. Then he recites the entire playing XI from memory, no peeking into paper chits. Amazing.”

As far as Playing XI is concerned, India has gone into the match with three openers, leaving out middle-order batsman Karun Nair to make space for in-form KL Rahul to bat at number 4. Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini are the other two players who have been left out from the India playing XI. India went into the match without its regular captain Virat Kohli, who is currently undergoing a rehabilitation for a neck injury that he sustained during IPL 2018.

For Afghanistan, Afsar Zazai will keep the wicket while two frontline spinners — Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman — are also part of the Playing XI. Afghanistan, who have fast established itself as a force to reckon with in the shorter formats, will become the 12th side to feature in men’s Test cricket after Ireland debuted against Pakistan last month.

Here is a look at the Playing 11 of India and Afghanistan

India playing 11: Murli Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Afghanistan playing 11: Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Afsar Zazai (wk), Rashid Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.business-standard


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