Preview: Statistically, it's a classic David vs Goliath showdown but contextually, it's the beginning of a historic new chapter in worldwide cricket as World No 1 India take on a war-ravaged-but-resilient Afghanistan in their first ever Test match on Thursday.
The opener eventually snicked paceman Yamin Ahmadzai behind for 107 but Murali Vijay (105) - with whom Dhawan put on 168 for the first wicket - also scored a century during a rain-affected afternoon as India closed on 347-6 after electing to bat.
When the match was originally scheduled, it was expected to be a straightforward proposition for the Indian team against Test cricket's newest entrants. While the statement created quite a stir in the cricketing fraternity, India's stumper-batsman, Dinesh Karthik, has shot back saying that the host team has a lot of experience-something that matters the most in Test cricket.
Afghanistan will become only the 12th test nation when they face India, the world's top-ranked side.
Rashid could have immediately got his second Test wicket in the form of the risky Pujara, who on 30 was dropped at first slip by Mohammed Nabi. Afghanistan are riding high on their 3-0 T20 series win over Bangladesh and the sizzling form of leg-spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman. Top officials were in the stands and Indian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore shook hands with Afghan players before the match. We are not thinking about Afghanistan as well: "yes, we respect them as our opponent but it's important for us to go out there and give more than our 100 per cent", said the batsman. India are playing the historic match without the services of skipper Virat Kohli. The live telecast of India's one-off Test match against Afghanistan will start at 9am on June 14th (Thursday) in Bengaluru. "The preparation going into this match is no different", Rahane said.
In reality, the Indians have been more or less comfortable against the slower bowlers in the previous season barring the first Test against Australia in Pune a year ago.
India has played a significant role in promoting cricket in Afghanistan since 2001 when the conflict-ridden country joined the ICC (International Cricket Council).
In Kohli's absence, India are most likely to call up their star spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, the world's fourth and fifth-ranked Test bowlers respectively.
The left-hander has scored over 100 runs in a session before, though, doing so against Australia on debut in Mohali in 2013, and then against Sri Lanka in Galle previous year.