Shikhar Dhawan India Afghanistan Test 2018 Murali Vijay Rashid Khan
Shikhar Dhawan © IANS

India spoiled Afghanistan‘s induction ceremony to Test cricket in the first session. They went to lunch at 158 without loss. Shikhar Dhawan became the first Indian (and sixth overall) to score a hundred before lunch on Day One. Dhawan remained unbeaten on 104 from 91 balls, with 19 fours and 3 sixes. He has Murali Vijay (41 in 72 balls, 6 fours, 1 six) for company. Vijay looked uncomfortable in the first half an hour, but grew in confidence as the session went on. Dhawan, on the other hand, did not allow the Afghans, particularly the spinners, find rhythm.

Dhawan used his feet to great effect against the Afghan spinners. He was cautious against new-ball bowlers Yamin Ahmadzai and Wafadar Momand when the ball was still new, but he opened up the moment the spinners came on. He welcomed Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) teammate Rashid Khan to Test cricket with three fours off the first four balls he faced off the latter, the first past mid-on, the other two past mid-wicket. The third of these brought up Dhawan’s fifty, off only 47 balls. He had earlier earlier lofted Nabi for a straight six.

He later hit Mujeeb Ur Rahman for three consecutive fours as well (cut for four, lofted over the bowler, cut again), to move to the nineties. This happened two balls after Vijay cover-drove Mujeeb for four.

Afghanistan had their moments. Wafadar bowled well, rapping Dhawan on the pads as the Afghan fielders went up in unison. Stanikzai finally reviewed when Rashid hit Dhawan off the pads, but replays suggested the ball would have gone over the stumps.

The players broke for lunch with India definitely on top. Between them, the famed Afghan spinners, whom Asghar Stanikzai had claimed to be better than their Indian counterparts, have figures of 15-0-105-0 at this stage.

Brief scores:

India 158 for no loss (Shikhar Dhawan 104*, Murali Vijay 41*) vs Afghanistan.