Afghanistan pull back things after India's dominant start
India (347-6) got off to an authoritative start with both openers Shikhar Dhawan (107) Murali Vijay (105) slamming centuries. The first two sessions were dominated by India, after which Afghanistan pulled back things to pick up a string of quick wickets.
It was a historic day as Afghanistan became the 12th Test playing nation. This was the country's first match after getting Test recognition from the ICC. Winning the toss, India made a bold move to bat first on a greenish Bangalore wicket. However, the openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay did not let the team down.
As soon as the ball lost its shine and the sun came out, Shikhar Dhawan (107) cut loose and started clobbering boundaries in his trademark style. Murali Vijay (105) on the other hand, was a little more cautious and played a helping hand to Dhawan. Once Dhawan got out, Vijay accelerated a bit, but could reach his century only after a couple of rain breaks.
KL Rahul (54) staged a good partnership with Vijay, scoring a free-flowing half century. Cheteshwar Pujara (35), who came out to bat at No 4 instead of the usual one down, also played a useful hand.
The third session marked a string of quick wickets. Dinesh Karthik (4), making a comeback to the Test team after 8 years, was very unfortunate to get run out.
When the day's play came to a premature end owing to time lost to rain, India were 347 for 6, with Hardik Pandya (10) and R Ashwin (7) at the crease. The Afghanistan spinners - Rashid Khan (26-120-1), Mujib ur Rahman (14-69-1) and Mohammad Nabi (8-45-0) - who looked a little insipid in the first two sessions will take heart from the fact that they came back strongly in the last session.
The first session of tomorrow would be very crucial for both the teams. If this partnership can keep going, India can pile up a really huge score. On the other hand, if Afghanistan's new ball bowlers Yamin Ahmadzai (13-32-2) and Wafadar (15-53-1) bowl the right lengths, they can restrict India to a managable total which would then allow them to remain in the competition.
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