Bengaluru: Senior batsman Shikhar Dhawan proved his form and fitness in style before the South African series as he led India A's strong reply against Bangladesh A with an unbeaten century on Day 1 of the only unofficial cricket Test here on Sunday.
Responding to the visitors' score of 228, India A rode on a 112-ball 116 not out by skipper Dhawan to post 161 for one at stumps in the three-day game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. India A still trail by 67 runs.
Sharing a 153-run opening stand with Abhinav Mukund (34), Dhawan carried his bat through to the end of day's play with Shreyas Iyer for company (6 not out).
Missing the two Sri Lanka Tests after sustaining a hairline fracture in his hand in the opening match in Galle, Dhawan has fought back well from injury to make an impression right away.
Earlier put to bat, Bangladesh A suffered from lack of partnerships as Sabbir Rahman (122 not out) and Shuvagata Hom (62) stood tall amidst the batting ruins. Nasir Hossain (32) was the only other batsman to get into double figures as the innings saw six ducks.
Pacer Varun Aaron (4-45) and off-spinner Jayant Yadav bagged (4-28) four wickets each to rip through the Bangladesh A batting.
Aaron first sent back Soumya Sarkar (0) with a beauty on his very first ball he bowled. It was a delivery which Sarkar nicked to wicketkeeper Naman Ojha.
Aaron did not stop at that, he wreaked havoc with good support from Abhimanyu Mithun (1-51) and Ishwar Pandey (1-48) from other end. The Indian discard made captain Mominul Haque to chase a away moving ball into the safe pairs of gloves of Ojha for two.
Aaron reared one up to promising star Liton Das (0) so alarmingly that the he had no option but to give a catch to Baba Aparajith (substitute). He rounded up the day by making Hom give away a catch to Karun Nair.
Yadav (4-28) also shared honours with Aaron as he got rid of Saqlain Sajib (4), Shafiul Islam (0), Rubel Hossain (0) and Jubair Hossain (0), in 46 balls he got to ball.
Bangladesh A were 50 for five at one stage before Rahman and Hom put on 132 runs for the sixth wicket to give some respectability to the visiting batting card.
But it was Dhawan who remained the star of the day with his hundred coming up in just 97 balls. This was Dhawan's third successive first-class ton after two Test centuries in Fatullah and Galle.
Dhawan, who came out to bat with a hope of spending some quality time to check out if there is any discomfort while batting, struck 16 boundaries and two sixes against a listless Bangladesh A attack.
The left-handed batsman showed positive intent sending the visiting bowlers on a leatherhunt, something he is known for when he stormed into the Test arena cracking a scintillating debut hundred against Australia.
With the pitch dying down later in the day, it was an onerous task for Bangladesh A bowlers. Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Saumya Sarkar and Saqlain Sajib and others failed to stop the Indian openers, who faced little difficulty in negotiating their attack.