BENGALURU, JUNE 16
Had this historic Test match been a bout of heavyweight boxing, Afghanistan’s players would have been peeling themselves off the canvas and heading to the infirmary. They will carry the scars of this rout, but one hopes – in the interests of cricket’s well-being – not for long.
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All it took for India to wrap up another Test victory at home was 66.3 overs and 290 minutes after lunch on the second day. India’s innings and 262-run win margin will be remembered as will Afghanistan’s abject capitulation. It was only the fourth instance when a Test team has been dismissed twice in a day – in Afghanistan’s case over less than two sessions.
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The visiting team, who came dressed in their festive best on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr before slipping into white flannels, didn’t have much to celebrate in the end.
Replying to India’s first innings tally of 474 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Afghanistan mustered 109 in their first essay. Their second essay, after being asked to follow-on, was similar – 103 runs. However, one must remember that South Africa made only 84 in the first innings of their first Test against England way back in 1889.
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It wasn’t the only positive for Afghanistan. They did eject a formidable Indian batting line-up in about four sessions and they did show glimpses – albeit too fleeting – of what it takes to see off time in a Test match when Asghar Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shahidi put on 37 for the fifth wicket in the second innings. Stanikzai undid all the hard work with an incredibly extravagant attempt of a hoist. In time, hopefully, the skipper will learn.
The virtue of patience and preparedness to wear down opposition bowlers is one of the hardest lessons Afghanistan will have to imbibe from this game. There was little in terms of footwork and even less in intent of rotating the strike too. But then, they are a team that is only one Test match – nay just two days – old.
India’s bowlers were too quick and skillful for this inexperienced side. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav returned match hauls four each, while spin combo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finished with five and six wickets respectively.
The Afghans began to unravel in the fourth over of their first innings when a direct hit from Pandya at point sent back sauntering opener Mohammad Shahzad. Thus, began the visitors parade back to the pavilion with only Mohammad Nabi putting up a fighting 24 (44b, 4×4).
In the second essay, the only two players who returned decent numbers were Sahidi (36 n.o, 88b, 4×6) and Stanikzai (25, 58, 4×4, 1×6).
Ashwin completed the formalities in the extended hour, cleaning up Wafadar’s middle stump.
Earlier, starting at an overnight score of 347/6, India added 127 runs in 26.5 overs, losing four wickets in the process. Overnight batsman Ashwin (18, 39b, 1×4) did not extend his stay at the crease for long. Wicketkeeper Ahmad Zazai pouched a Yamin Ahmadzai delivery edged by Ashwin.
The pacer could have accounted for Ravindra Jadeja in the next ball, but first Zazai and then skipper Stanikzai, at first slip, failed to hold on to a catch, which ensured a 67-run eight-wicket partnership between Hardik Pandya and Jadeja. In the meanwhile, Pandya helped himself to a half-century (71, 94b, 10×4).
During his 130 minutes stay at the creases, Pandya wasn’t his flamboyant self. Instead, he played a measured and mature innings. He patiently waited for the loose balls to be put away. Hardik’s vigil ended when he gifted a catch to Zazai off Wafadar.
Before India wrapped up the innings, the last man in -Umesh Yadav- who was cheered on vivaciously by the crowd for his Royal Challengers Bangalore connection-entertained with a 21-ball 26 which included two maximums and an equal number of fours.
BENGALURU, JUNE 16