Shikhar Dhawan’s blistering century puts India in control of one-off Test against Afghanistan
Shikhar Dhawan gave Afghanistan a taste of the Test match cricket with a dominating century, hammering the spinners with a great array of shots to all parts of the ground. (IND vs AFG, 1st TEST, DAY 1, LIVE UPDATES)
Dhawan’s century came off just 88 balls and was punctuated with 19 fours and three sixes. This was his seventh century in 29 Test matches. In process, he became the first Indian to hit a century before lunch.
Dhawan made his intentions clear right at the start when he took on 18-year-old afghan pacer Wafadar, punching two consecutive boundaries through the cover region. Yamin Ahmadzai managed to keep things quite at the other end but both the pacers were unable to trouble the Indian opener. Introduction of spin in the ninth over came as a blessing for Dhawan and a chance to open his shoulders. He targeted Mohammad Nabi hammering a six and four.
As runs started coming Dhawan became more adventurous stepping out and trying to ensure that Afghan spinners don’t settle into a rhythm.
Rashid Khan the star of the Afghan side was welcomed into the attack with three fours off his first over in Test cricket. Dhawan maybe well placed to take on Rashid who Is his teammate in Sunrisers Hyderabad and must have faced the spinner countless times in nets. It clearly showed as went for two fours and a six in the 20th over. Dhawan fifty came in 47 balls and he then galloped to his century off the next 41 balls.
With Murali Vijay happily playing the sheet anchor role, Dhawan took all the risks and it paid off. The 17-year-old Mujeeb ur Rahman also failed to make an impact in trying to keep the burly opener quite. He was duly hammered for three fours. In total, Afghanistan spinners—Rashid, Nabi and Rahman conceded 105 runs in the 15 overs they bowled with Dhawan doing most of the damage. His century came off a Rashid Khan’s googly which was nonchalantly dispatched for a boundary through mid-off.