Dhawan puts India 'A' in control

After India 'A' bowled out Bangladesh ‘A’ for 228, the home team reached 161 for one at stumps on the first day, on the back of Shikar Dhawan's heroics.

India 'A' opener Shikar Dhawan celebrates after scoring a century on Day One of the unofficial Test match against Bangladesh 'A' at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Sabbir Rahman of Bangladesh 'A' in full flow. His innings was all about grit and patience.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Varun Aaron, with four for 45, was the pick of the Indian bowlers.   -  Sampath Kumar G. P.

Sabbir Rahman and Shikhar Dhawan stood out with contrasting centuries on the opening day of the first-class fixture between India ‘A’ and Bangladesh ‘A’ here on Sunday. Rahman’s gritty unbeaten 122 came in the face of a crisis, while Dhawan (116 n.o., 112b, 16x4, 2x6) batted with gay abandon.

Opting to field, India ‘A’ bowled out Bangladesh ‘A’ for 228. The home side then reached 161 for one, on the back of Dhawan’s heroics.

The morning session belonged to the India ‘A’ bowlers, who reduced the visitors to six for four. The impressive Varun Aaron struck with his very first ball, forcing Soumya Sarkar to nick to wicketkeeper Naman Ojha. Captain Mominul Haque then edged a full and wide delivery to give Aaron his second.

Aaron then scalped another when Liton Das popped a length ball to mid-on. At the other end, Ishwar Pandey accounted for Anamul Haque.

Nasir Hossain looked jittery in his 28-ball 32, and his dismissal brought Rahman and Shuvagata Hom together.

Rahman, in his innings, displayed grit and patience that the Bangladesh ‘A’ top-order sorely lacked. He went about constructing his innings in measured fashion. His fifty came off 76 balls, and in the company of Hom, he put the Bangladesh ‘A’ innings back on track. Their sixth-wicket partnership yielded a crucial 132 runs, and was broken when Hom fell to Aaron. The fast bowler, who had figures of four for 45 in 11 overs, impressed with his pace and carry.

Rahman brought up his century in 115 balls. From here, he laid into the India ‘A’ bowlers to keep the scoreboard ticking at a rapid rate. The last four batsmen, however, fell in quick succession to off-spinner Jayant Yadav.

Dhawan then took the centre-stage. Three flowing drives off Rubel Hossain early in his innings were a sign of things to come. Any doubt over his fitness – this is Dhawan’s first match since he suffered a hand injury in Sri Lanka last month – was put to rest, as he dismantled the Bangladesh bowling unit. The Delhi opener swiveled to pull the spinners to fine-leg, used the reverse sweep frequently, and also struck shots that cleared the ropes. Fielders were pushed back to stem the flow of runs, but Dhawan was unrelenting in his attack.

The India ‘A’ skipper brought up his century off just 98 balls, with a typical punch past mid-off. Meanwhile, his partner Abhinav Mukund moved to a sedate 78-ball 34, before a sharp off-break from Hom beat the bat and hit the stumps.

Play was called off a short while later due to bad light.

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