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Dhawan hits 150

Shikhar Dhawan hit an aggressive unbeaten 150 off 158 balls and Murali Vijay hit a sedate 89 not out as India rattled up 239 runs without loss on a rain-truncated first day of the one-off Test against Bangladesh at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah on Wednesday.

At stumps on Day 1, India were 239/0 in their first innings justifying their captain Virat Kohli’s decision to go in with five specialist batsmen.

Dhawan made a memorable comeback by reaching 150 off 158 that was his first century in 15 innings. The left-handed opener, who was dropped for the last Test match in Sydney, was ably partnered by Vijay to put India on the path of a huge total.

Dhawan reached 150 just before the umpires decided to call stumps because of fading light. Dhawan and Vijay stretched their partnership past 200 and in the process recorded India’s highest ever opening stand against Bangladesh in Tests.
Dhawan and Vijay resumed the Indian first innings at 107/0 after rain relented in the third session.

The rain interruption failed to deter Dhawan and Vijay as the openers picked up from where they had left and continued to maintain a healthy run rate. Dhawan in particular was in immaculate touch and pierced the fielding placements with perfection and finding gaps with ease.

Vijay reached his 11th half-century off 98 balls with a boundary to third man and the Indian 150 was brought up in the 32nd over as Dhawan reached his third century off 101 balls in the 36th over with a four to square leg off Jubair Hossain.

Vijay brought up the Indian 200 in the 44th over with a six over long-on off Hossain. This is the second instance when Vijay and Dhawan have put 200 runs for the opening wicket, the first coming against Australia on Dhawan’s Test debut when the two amassed 289 runs at Mohali in March 2013.

Opting to bat after winning the toss, India were 107/0 in 23.3 overs with Dhawan (74) and Vijay (33) going strong when play was stopped due to rain and early lunch was taken.

With rain refusing to relent during the lunch break and washing out the second session of the day, the chances of India resuming their first innings looked bleak. However, just as the tea break approached, the rain stopped but due to the wet outfield, early tea was taken and after the umpires’ inspection it was declared that play would resume at 3 p.m. IST and 38 overs can be bowled if the weather and light are good enough.

New ball bowler Mohammad Shahid conceded the first runs off his bowling after 2.2 overs when Dhawan gracefully hit a delivery through the covers for a boundary. Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim brought in Shuvagata Hom to bowl his off-spinners after five overs of pace bowling by Shahid and Soumya Sarkar.

But Dhawan, having got into his stride, hit Hom for two consecutive boundaries in his first over. Dhawan then hit Shahid for three boundaries in the next over making his intentions to dominate very clear.

Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan was brought into the attack after ten overs with India at 45/0 and in the same over Dhawan flicked a delivery through mid-wicket to bring up the Indian fifty. Vijay hit his first boundary when he flicked a full toss from Shakib through mid-wicket for four.

Dhawan got to his fifty in the next over by Hom with a boundary to third man, getting to the milestone off 47 balls.

With nothing working in his favour, Rahim brought in left-arm spinner Taijul Islam with India at 70/0. But Dhawan was merciless, as he not only massacred the short deliveries by cutting through point, but also kept the spinners on tenterhooks by charging down the wicket from time to time.

Leg-spinner Jubair Hossain was brought on after 22 overs with India at 98/0 and Dhawan brought up the Indian hundred in the same over pulling a short-pitched delivery through square leg for four. Dhawan was dropped at 73 by Hom off Islam and after another delivery, play had to be stopped due to rain.

Earlier, Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat opting for five bowlers including three pacers in Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav along with Ravichandran Ashwin and veteran Harbhajan Singh making a comeback after two years.

Dhawan replaced opener KL Rahul, who has been ruled out due to sickness.

With captain Mushfiqur Rahim playing as a pure batsman, Litton Das made his Test debut as wicket-keeper for Bangladesh.

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