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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

India Test centurion Shikhar Dhawan backs Afghanistan's Rashid Khan for 'serious' success

India opener concedes familiarity played a part in his domination of young leg-spinner on Day 1 of Bengaluru Test

India opener Shikhar Dhawan acknowledged that two seasons of batting in the nets with Rashid Khan had given him an advantage. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
India opener Shikhar Dhawan acknowledged that two seasons of batting in the nets with Rashid Khan had given him an advantage. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

Shikhar Dhawan expects Rashid Khan to take “serious wickets” in his Test career, despite inflicting a harsh start on him in the format.

The Afghan leg-spinner was much talked about ahead of his country’s first Test match, thanks to two prolific seasons in the Indian Premier League with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

His threat was immediately blunted, though, by some savage batting by his Sunrisers teammate Dhawan, who became the first Indian player ever to hit a century before lunch on the first day of a Test.

Dhawan acknowledged that two seasons of batting in the nets with Rashid as colleagues in the IPL had given him an advantage.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, right, suffered a poor first few hours in Test cricket. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, right, suffered a poor first few hours in Test cricket. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

He dealt fiercely with him as he made 107 from 96 balls, reaching three figures with four minutes to spare before the lunch interval.

Rashid’s own hundred - runs conceded - arrived in 17 overs. But he showed his class by taking one for 15 in a nine-over session as Afghanistan finally gained a foothold in the game in the evening session.

“They came back well,” Dhawan said. “I am sure they are going to learn lots of things. Of course he is a top-class bowler and I really enjoyed my battles with him.

“Of course, I dominated, so I enjoyed it – but he is a great bowler. On his day, he can take some serious wickets.

“The advantage I had is that I have faced him in nets for two years as we play for the same team in IPL, so I was used to his bowling. That helped me.”

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Paul Radley's Afghanistan cricket coverage:

A day of two halves for Afghanistan's cricketers in their debut cricket Test against India

Long read: From Afghanistan to Dubai via Scotland - cricket at centre of Ghazi's journey

Mike Gatting recalls trip to India when his MCC-led side were hammered by Afghanistan

Germany experiences huge spike in cricket's popularity since European migrant crisis

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Seamer Yamin Ahmadzai became the first Afghanistan bowler to take a Test wicket. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
Seamer Yamin Ahmadzai became the first Afghanistan bowler to take a Test wicket. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

Dhawan was the sixth player in history – and the first Indian – to score a hundred pre-lunch on Day 1 of the Test.

He said he only became aware of the fact after seeing it on the television.

“I didn’t know [he was the first Indian] to 100 in a session, and once I came back I read it on the TV and felt grateful about it,” he said.

On a day of firsts, Yamin Ahmadzai became the first Afghan to take a Test wicket.

The seam bowler removed Dhawan after Mohammed Nabi claimed a ricochet at first slip.

By the close, Yamin was the pick of the bowlers, with 2-32, as India reached stumps on 347-6.

“This was a dream come true for our nation,” Yamin said. “It was enjoyable, although there was a little stress.

“Playing in India, with India being the No 1 team was a good experience. There are still four days to go.

“In the second half we started to get a grip on the game. We decided to go with another plan, which was a little defensive. We were successful with that.”