Harsh reality check for Afghanistan

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Jun 2018 11:07:44




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 on Friday. 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. 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.


Umesh claims 100th Test wicket



UMESH Yadav on Friday picked up his 100th Test wickets, becoming the eighth Indian pace bowler to achieve the landmark in the longer format of the game. Umesh picked up Rahmat Shah as his 100th Test wicket after he trapped him plumb in front of the wickets on the second day of the historic India-Afghanistan Test match.