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.
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