Image courtesy of: BCCI/ESPNcricinfo
Afghanistan’s dream Test debut turned into a complete nightmare as they were skittled out twice on the second day in Bangalore as India bulldozed their way to a record-breaking innings and 262-run win.
India’s margin of victory was their largest in the longest format, beating their innings and 239-run win over Bangladesh in 2007.
Furthermore, India became the first Asian team to win a Test match inside two days.
As for Afghanistan, they became the third team in history to be bowled out twice on the same day of a Test match.
Starting off the day on 347/6, India lost Ravichandran Ashwin early on as he was caught behind off the bowling of Yamin Ahmadzai for 18.
Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja made up for the early loss of Ashwin with a 67-run partnership, during which Pandya brought up his fifty, before Jadeja was dismissed by Mohammad Nabi for 20.
Pandya went on to score 71 off 94 balls, which included 10 boundaries, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Wafadar.
Umesh Yadav provided some fireworks towards the end of the innings as he smashed an unbeaten 26 off 21 balls before India were bowled out for 474 when Ishant Sharma was trapped lbw off the bowling of Rashid Khan for eight runs.
Ahmadzai was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Wafadar and Rashid snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, they chipped in with one wicket each.
Trailing by 474 runs, Afghanistan got off to a horrible start as opener Mohammad Shahzad was run out by Pandya was 14.
Shahzad’s opening partner, Javed Ahmadi, only made one run before he was clean bowled by Ishant.
Rahmat Shah managed to make 14 before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Yadav, while wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai suffered the same fate as Ahmadi when he was on six runs.
Ashwin and Jadeja took over from that point as they carved through Afghanistan’s middle and lower order.
With Nabi being the only batsman to put up some sort of a fight with his knock of 24, Afghanistan were bundled out for 109.
Ashwin was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Jadeja and Ishant took two wickets apiece. As for Yadav, he claimed one.
With Afghanistan still trailing by 365 runs, India decided to enforce the follow on.
Given another chance to make their presence felt with the bat, Afghanistan failed to deliver once again as Yadav ripped through their top order, taking out Shahzad, Ahmadi and Nabi.
With Rahmat falling to Ishant, Afghanistan were in all sorts of trouble at 24/4.
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shahidi temporarily kept India at bay with a 37-run partnership before Stanikzai was caught by Shikhar Dhawan at extra cover off the bowling of Jadeja for 25.
Jadeja continued to spear through Afghanistan’s lower order, which led to them being skittled out for 103.
Shahidi was left stranded on 36 off 88 balls, which included six boundaries.
Jadeja picked up four wickets, while Yadav snapped up three, Ishant took two and Ashwin claimed one.
Stanikzai was disappointed that Afghanistan failed to put up more of a fight in their Test debut, and said: “Before we had not played a Test match, and now in the future against Full Member [nations we know] what we need to do.
“We were surprised with the match ending in two days because our team is good. Disappointed with the batting, but it is good for the future. We have a lot of time and camps to work on our weakness. Thanks to the fans for supporting both teams.”
India stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane was thrilled to have won, and said: “This [win] feels really special. It is always an honour to lead your country. The way we played, especially batting, Shikhar, Vijay, Rahul and Hardik. We did not take Afghanistan lightly.
“It was important for us to keep the basics and good habits. Credit to Afghanistan. Their seamers bowled really well, especially in the third session yesterday and I am sure they will go a long way.”
Dhawan was named Man of the Match for scoring a century in the opening session on the first day, and said: “Really happy about the way I’ve been playing. It’s good we finished the match early and we have a few days off. Before going to Ireland, we will be fresh. Of course, the ball was swinging and seaming but I was clear in my mind and it went my way.
“By the grace of God, I scored a century in one session and it feels special. I want to congratulate Afghanistan for making it to this level and Eid Mubarak to all of them. It’s always a learning process. Once they play other sides and start winning, they will get confidence. It’s a big boost for their country. I would like to thank the audience for coming here.”