Unbeaten ton for Dhawan after visitors' 228
India A 161 for 1 (Dhawan 116*) trail Bangladesh A 228 (Sabbir 122*, Hom 62, J Yadav 4-28, Aaron 4-45) by 67 runs
The three national selectors watching India A dominate Bangladesh A would have been mostly satisfied with what they saw on the first day of the three-day match in Bangalore. Varun Aaron bowled quick and took four wickets to help bowl Bangladesh out for 228, and Shikhar Dhawan, who didn't complete the Sri Lanka tour with injury, then effortlessly scored his third first-class hundred in three matches to take India close to a lead already. However, there was a brief scare when Dhawan, selected for the T20s and three ODIs against South Africa, had to apply magic spray on the right hand when batting in his 70s. He didn't field at slip either, where he had incidentally injured his hand. However, he batted on, which was a good sign. Ravindra Jadeja bowled nine overs without a maiden and produced one close lbw shout.
Bangladesh selectors will want to look away from yet another scorecard. While Sabbir Rahman scored a sublime 122 off 131 balls, it was not enough to undo the ridiculous collapse that happened around him. On a flat and easy-paced pitch, most of the other Bangladesh A batsmen seemed in a competition to throw their wickets away, playing too may shots and playing them injudiciously. Put in, they lost the first four wickets for 0, 0, 2 and 0 in 15 minutes, and the last four for 4, 0, 0 and 0 in 2.2 overs. In between Sabbir teamed up with Nasir Hossain (32) and Suvagata Hom (62) to avoid a total wipeout. Even those two partnerships were streaky.
Aaron presented a case for retaining him in the Test side with four wickets, but he will be the first one to acknowledge that he will have to work much harder for wickets in international cricket. He made an accurate start to his day, pitching the first ball just short of a length and just outside the off stump of the left-hand opener Soumya Sarkar. Sarkar pushed at it, and down the wrong line, to edge it behind. These kinds of things happen when you put the ball in that avenue of apprehension, but a first-class No. 3 - and a captain of side - rarely goes out of his way to nick a ball that has odds of being called a wide - even in first-class cricket. Mominul Haque did just that, and Aaron had two wickets in his first over.
Anamul Haque played loosely outside off to Ishwar Pandey, and Liton Das flicked Aaron straight to mid-on to make it 4 for 6 in the sixth over. This brought together Sabbir and Nasir. The latter has been the thorn in the sides of the Indian teams on this tour, and he began doing the same. Not without luck, though, with edges flying safely often. However, his tendency to move away from the line of the ball got him soon enough. Abhimanyu Mithun produced the perfect delivery for a such a batsman: holding its line just outside off to take the edge.
Sabbir and Hom were more assured than the previous 44-run stand. Sabbir played some attractive shots, was severe against anything pitched short, and treated spinners with disdain. He hit 18 fours and a huge six off offspinner Jayant Yadav. Aaron, though, came back in the afternoon to end that resurgence. This was his most important wicket of the day, arguably the only one he had to work for. He bowled with pace, he bowled with bounce, and then pitched one outside off to see Hom not get close to the line and edge it behind the wicket, fifth such dismissal out of the first six.
Sabbir then dominated the 38-run seventh-wicket stand, of which Saqlain Sajib scored just four. One moment Sabbir was on his knees to do the sajda, after reaching his hundred, and on the next, he was down on his knees in exasperation after watching the last four batsmen fail to provide any resistance. They all fell to gentle offbreaks from Jayant.
There was a gentleness to Bangladesh bowling, too, especially with Rubel Hossain getting injured and walking off in the sixth over of the Indian innings. There was a long way to go to stumps, and Dhawan feasted on the Bangladesh spinners. Not that Rubel posed much threat: Dhawan had hit him for three fours in his first over. At times during Dhawan's innings, the fielders were as if they were non-existent. He played around with the fields expertly, including the use of the reverse sweep. He hit 16 fours and two sixes in his 116 off 112 balls.
Bangladesh were a resigned unit, and Dhawan didn't let them off easy. In the 153-run opening stand, Dhawan's partner, Abhinav Mukund, scored just 34. Curiously Bangladesh continued bowling spin in fading light, allowing India to bat on until 5.06pm. The moment they re-introduced pace, the umpires took the players off. Bangladesh were left needing much more fight, and awareness, than they have shown if they are to salvage some pride on a tour they have lost a three-day match to Ranji champions Karnataka too.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo