India could not have got themselves off to a better start on Day 1 of their one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The toss can often decide the fate of a match well in advance, and opting to bat first can more often than not swing the game in one's favour. When Virat Kohli won the toss, and barely surprised anyone by opting to bat first, the battle appeared half-won. The Indians had won all the tosses in the Test series against New Zealand, gave the ball to the visitors, put up big first innings totals and went on to record easy wins on all three occasions.
When KL Rahul, who entered the elusive '199 club' the last time he walked out to bat, dragged a full, wide delivery from Taskin Ahmed onto his stumps in the very first over of the day, one may have had a fleeting thought of the Bangladeshis going on to put up a fight better than what New Zealand or England produced before them. The visiting team made great use of the new ball on a track that had a visible tinge of green on it, producing plenty of outside edges that unfortunately could not be converted into dismissals by the fielders.
However, a scoreline of 356/3 at the end of the day's play would betray a reader into perceiving Day 1 as one completely dominated by the Indian batsmen. Kohli slammed one of the most effortless centuries of his career, nearly switching to Twenty20-mode in the last 10 overs of the day's play, with Murali Vijay exhibiting his usual class while bringing up his ninth century earlier in the day's play. With Cheteshwar Pujara (83) and Ajinkya Rahane (45 not out) also coming good with the bat, one could go on to say that the day virtually belonged to the hosts, barring a couple of hiccups.
What the Indians really will be looking forward to on the second day's play will be a solid session or two, for starters. In the three sessions on Day 1, the hosts scored 86, 120 and 150 runs respectively, losing a wicket in each of them. If they go about business at the same rate as they did in the second session, they could get them to a total around the 500-600 mark. Individual milestones are another thing to look forward to, with Kohli looking to notch up his fourth Test double-hundred. With the pitch set to deteriorate as the match progresses, and with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja eagerly waiting for their opportunity with the ball, a total in excess of 500 could very well prove match-winning.