Bengaluru, June 15:
Afghanistan’s dreams of scripting a fairytale turned into a virtual nightmare as a ruthlessly professional India demolished them by an innings and 262 runs inside two days to win the historic one-off Test match here.
Afghanistan came across painfully short of experience for the longest format and were bowled out for 109 and 103 in pursuit of India’s first innings total of 474 all out today.
This was the first time that India won a Test match in two days while it has now happened for the 21st time in the 141-year-history of the traditional format. India, however, did become the first team to claim 20 wickets in a day.
Afghans, who have some impressive accomplishments in the shortest format lasted a total of 66.3 overs (27.5 overs and 38.4 overs), posing serious questions over their readiness to cope up with demands of five-day cricket.
The gulf in class was a reality but the Test match exposed their inability to understand the needs of the longest format. Their performance lends support to the demands for a two-tier Test format, which could get them battle-ready for future series.
With an average first-class experience of less than 15 matches, Test cricket wouldn’t have been easy for Afghans but if a robust first-class structure isn’t put in place, ICC’s novel idea may just backfire.
The giants of world cricket were supposed to be infinitely superior but what lacked in the visitors was will to fight it out.
Batting was always going to be Afghanistan’s ‘Achilles heel’ as the inexperienced line-up simply didn’t have the technique or the temperament to face either quality pace bowling from Ishant Sharma (2//28 and 2/17) and Umesh Yadav (1/18 and 3/26) or the spin of Ravichandran Ashwin (4/27 and 1/32) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/18 and 4/17).
Every Afghan batsman seemed to be in limited-overs mode without any respect for an aspect called patience, which is an integral component of Test cricket.
Once the top-order was blown away by Umesh and Ishant, Ashwin and Jadeja made short work of the middle and lower-order as the second day turned into a totally mismatch.
There were two minor milestones for India. Umesh Yadav completed 100 wickets in Test matches while Ashwin (316 wickets) surpassed Zaheer Khan (311 wickets) to become India’s fourth highest wicket-taker after Anil Kumble (619 wickets), Kapil Dev (434 wickets) and Harbhajan Singh (417 wickets).
It started in the first innings with the run-out of portly Mohammed Shahzad (14), who was needlessly run-out as Pandya’s direct throw found him short of his crease.
In the second innings, the same Shahzad (13) nicked at a outswinger from Yadav.
Ishant, fresh from an impressive county stint, bowled a perfect line and got the new ball to dart back in cleaning up top-order batsmen.
Both speedsters bowled to a probing channel and the Afghans were forced into committing mistakes. Having not played bowling of this caliber also contributed to their dismal show. (PTI)