Vijay, Dhawan Tons Take India to 347/6 vs Afghanistan on Day 1
Hundreds from Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay gave Afghanistan the expectedly tough initiation into Test cricket but the debutants managed to find their bearings to leave India a tad uncomfortable at 347 for 6 on a rain-curtailed first day of the historic one-off Test in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Dhawan (107 off 96 balls) bludgeoned the rookie Afghan bowlers into submission with a single session century while Vijay grinded them with a compact 105 off 153 balls as the duo smashed 168 in only 28.4 overs.
However, the world no.1 hosts did take their foot off the pedal in the final session losing five wickets for 99 runs in 32 overs. The result was that the day end scorecard didn't paint a sorry picture for Afghanistan something that was threatening to happen after the first two sessions.
The final session definitely belonged to Afghanistan as their bowlers put up an inspired performance backed by the fielders.
Vijay and a well-set KL Rahul (54 off 64 balls) were removed in quick succession by the impressive pace duo of Yamin Ahmadzai (2/32 in 13 overs) and Wafadar (1/53 in 15 overs).
The Vijay-Rahul second wicket partnership yielded 112 runs but their dismissals brought about a collapse.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane (10 off 45 balls) and Cheteshwar Pujara (35) couldn't maintain the momentum giving the visiting team bowlers something to cheer about in the final session.
Rahane became Rashid Khan's maiden Test scalp while Mujeeb ur Rahman got Pujara caught at leg-gully with one that spun in sharply.
Comeback-man Dinesh Karthik (4) was run-out needlessly as a solid foundation laid by the openers was wasted by the middle-order.
Rashid (1/120 in 26 overs) conceded a 'century', getting a reality check on the enormous gulf between T20 and Test cricket during the first two sessions.
However, being a quick learner, he came back well in the final session varying the pace of his deliveries and getting the ball to dip in troubling the middle-order with a final spell of 9-2-15-1.
Earlier, Dhawan became the first Indian batsman to score a century in the first session of a Test match joining the illustrious ranks of Sir Don Bradman, Victor Trumper, Majid Khan, and David Warner.
The hapless bowlers struggled during the first two sessions as they were not able to hit the correct 'Test match length', especially the spinners, who are used to bowling flat and quick.
In all, Dhawan hit 19 boundaries and three huge sixes before Yamin Ahmedzai picked him with a perfectly pitched delivery that moved a shade away after pitching. Mohammed Nabi, in the slips, pouched it after his skipper Ashgar Stanikzai fumbled on the first attempt.
At the onset, opening bowler Ahmadzai bowled a few sharp outswingers before leaving the field with a muscle pull. He did comeback at the stroke of lunch but left after another four-over spell in which he got Dhawan's wicket.
During the final session, he also got Rahul, who dragged a delivery back onto his stumps.
The other new ball bowler, Wafadar was angling it across the left-hander and Vijay faced him more to wear him out and take advantage of the spinners.
While Dhawan was more forceful in his strokeplay, Vijay was more silken in his drives. The shot of the day would certainly be a backfoot square drive off Wafadar.
Vijay's innings had 15 boundaries and a six. He completed his 12th hundred with a lofted shot over point off Wafadar.. Read more on Cricket by The Quint. Vijay, Dhawan Tons Take India to 347/6 vs Afghanistan on Day 1 ‘Rising Kashmir’ Editor Shujaat Bukhari Assassinated in Srinagar . Read more on Cricket by The Quint.