Dhawan ton puts India in control in Afghanistan's test debut

"His experience, his form - the way he was batting in the Asia Cup especially and also in the IPL. his experience playing those domestic games [will help us]".

"Getting back to Test cricket from (Twenty20) is all about tuning your mind rather than focusing on your skills", Rahane said.

"It is a historic test match and an emotional moment for the Afghanistan players".

"But if you see the India team, all of the players are Virat Kohli for us". There is no reason why they can't do it in red-ball cricket.

Following a couple of rain delays, the Afghans improved dramatically and it was their seamers rather than their much-vaunted spinners who made the initial breakthroughs, much to the delight of a few clusters of flag-waving Afghan supporters in the stands.

In March, the teenager became the fastest bowler to reach 100 one-day global wickets, and is now the world s top-ranked Twenty20 bowler. In 2015, India allowed the Afghan cricket team to shift base to Greater Noida from Shariah.

Players like Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi have won hearts of millions of people in India through their performance in the IPL. The Indian establishment is investing in Afghan cricket as it believes the game can act as a unifying force in a country otherwise torn apart by politics of ethnicity. "These attacks are against peace, unity and humanity".

"The terror in our home area meant we did not have access to an education while growing up". They expect us to perform well because recently Afghanistan performed really well in T20 and one day internationals and their expectation will be the same for Tests.

While majority of the sports fans, in soul and spirit, will be in Russian Federation enjoying the surreal skills of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the eternal cricket romantic will try to derive his little pleasures of life watching Rashid Khan trying to hurry Shikhar Dhawan with a flipper or bowl a googly to Ajinkya Rahane.

Ravichandran Ashwin (7) and Hardik Pandya (10) were at the crease at sumps. On the cusp of their milestones, both of them were offered short balls; Vijay launched his upper cut over point to bring up his 12th century - his third in consecutive home Tests - and Rahul casually whipped a googly from Rashid past short fine leg to bring up his half-century.

Afghanistan are under no illusion about how the pitch will behave and expect India's three spinners to come hard at them.

Rahane was roped in as stand-in skipper in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, is now undergoing rehabilitation for a neck injury which he sustained during his campaign with the Rajasthan Royals at the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

  • Julie Sanders