Bengaluru: The dream became a nightmare in a matter of just two days as India handed debutants Afghanistan a humiliating innings and 262 runs defeat in the one-off Test at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday. If the loss wasn’t embarrassing enough, the fact that the Indian bowlers cleaned them up twice on a single day added further insult to the injury. The Afghanistan batsmen could bat all of 66.3 overs, two innings combined, as the match ended inside two days. This is only the third time that a Test match has ended in two days with India being at the receiving end once and Zimbabwe facing the humiliation twice. India added another feather in their cap as they became the first Asian team to win a Test within two days.
The Afghanistan outfit was never expected to win the game against the World No.1 side, but what came as a dampener was the lack of application from the new entrants in the oldest format of the game. To bat just 27. 5 overs in the first innings was a cardinal sin as that ensured that the Indian bowlers had sniffed blood. And considering the experience on display in the Indian bowling line-up, there was no way that the Afghan boys would make a comeback in the game having managed just 109 in reply to India’s first innings score of 474.
The 17.1 overs that Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shahidi batted in the second innings showed that the boys know how to approach an innings in the longest format, but with batsmen around them failing to raise their hands and apply themselves, it was again a case of folding up in just 38.4 overs. After scoring 109 in the first, they managed just 103 in the second innings as the Indian boys showed their ruthlessness against the new kids on the block. While Nabi showed resilience in the first innings and hit 24 off 44 balls, it was Shahidi who showed some application in scoring an unbeaten 36 off 88 balls. It was only poetic justice that Ashwin picked the last wicket as Wafadar shouldered arms to see the ball hit the bails and bring an end to Afghanistan’s misery.
For India, it was a case of who picks how many as all the bowlers looked in fine flow. While R Ashwin (4/27) led the show in the first innings, Ravindra Jadeja (4/17) and Umesh Yadav (3/26) were the stars in the second essay. In fact, it was Umesh who broke the backbone of the Afghanistan innings in the second innings as he sent back Mohammad Shahzad (13) and Javed Ahmadi (3) and Nabi (0) inside the first six overs. Ishant then came in to get rid of Rahmat Shah (4).
After that there was the first sign of resolution from the debutants as Stanikzai and Shahidi kept defending the Indian bowlers and dead batted almost everything that was dished at them. But then, Rahane turned to his ‘precision man’ Jadeja. The left-arm spinner sent back the skipper for 25 as Dhawan picked an easy catch. After that, Jadeja used his typical turner that pitches on middle and then turn just enough to hit the top of off to dismiss Afsar Zazai (1). Rashid Khan (12) chopped it on as it looked like the game will end on the second day itself.
But Afghanistan’s flawed approach in the morning showed the day. After a spirited fightback towards the end of the first day, Afghanistan was expected to come back strongly on the second morning. But they flattered to deceive as they seemed to commit the same mistakes that saw them handing the advantage to India in the first two sessions on the first day. The first mistake was not taking the new ball when it was due, with a little bit of help still on offer in the first session. Asghar Stanikzai continued with Rashid Khan and that saw Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin settle down.
Even though Ashwin (18) and Jadeja (20) failed to capitalise after settling down, they gave Pandya enough time to wield the willow and hit a 94-ball 71 to help India score 474 in the first innings. Umesh Yadav rubbed salt into Afghanistan’s wounds as he hit a few lusty blows to score a quickfire 26* off 21 balls with two sixes and two fours. Rashid Khan finally trapped Ishant (8) plumb in front to end the India innings.