India hammer Afghanistan

India hammer Afghanistan

Umesh Yadav, working up good pace and getting the ball seam around, rocked the Afghanistan boat with three quick blows in an excellent first spell (4-1-14-3). DH Photo

Afghanistan’s much-hyped Test debut ended in a crushing defeat after the tourists suffered two dramatic collapses as record 24 wickets fell on a single day – the highest in a day’s play in India.

It was also only the fourth instance in the history of the game that a team has been dismissed twice in a day. The others to have this dubious distinction are India (vs England in 1952) and Zimbabwe (vs New Zealand in 2005 and 2012).

Even though India added a handy 127 runs, resuming from their overnight score of 347/6, before being packed off for 474 in 104.5 overs at the stroke of lunch, it was a creditable performance by the Test debutants who managed to bowl out the No 1 Test side in their first attempt itself.

While Afghanistan’s bowling atoned for itself after an erratic show on the first morning of the match, their batsmen failed their test miserably, being shot out for a sorry 109 in 27.5 overs in the first innings which lasted just 125 minutes here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday. That M Vijay alone batted 25.5 overs and Hardik Pandya stayed at the crease for 130 minutes put Afghanistan’s batting in the right perspective. India, after taking a massive 365-run lead, promptly enforced the follow-on.

In the second innings, Afghanistan showed pockets of resistance but it was clear that they simply didn’t possess the temperament for the longer format. Their innings folded at 103 off 38.4 overs as India registered an innings and 262-run win in the one-off Test.

Barring Mohammad Nabi in the first innings and skipper Asghar Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shahidi in the second to some extent, none of the Afghan batsmen showed any application or the will to grind it out. They were too flashy and batted without any purpose and direction. That they were up against a sustained hostile attack only made their job that much more difficult.            

While Umesh Yadav (1/18) and Ishant Sharma (2/28) began the rout, R Ashwin (4/27) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/18) completed the act in the first hit. In the second Umesh, working up good pace and getting the ball seam around, rocked the Afghanistan boat with three quick blows in an excellent first spell (4-1-14-3). With Ishant getting into the action to dismiss Rahmat Shah, the visitors slipped to 24 for four. While the defeat was evident, the only point of “interest” was that if Afghanistan could take the match into third day. And that was not to be.

Once the pacers kicked open the door, Jadeja ran through the middle and lower middle-order with his accurate darts. The left-arm spinner added four more wickets to go with his two in the first innings for a match haul of six for 35.          

Earlier, Rashid Khan (2/154) wrapped up India’s innings by dismissing Ishant Sharma after overnight batsman Hardik Pandya (71, 130m, 94b, 10x4) played uncharacteristically mature innings even as Afghanistan were left to rue the missed opportunities once again.

Pandya’s overnight companion, Ashwin didn’t last long and Afghanistan had a chance to make it two wickets in two balls but wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai spilt an easy offer of Jadeja (20) off the bowling of Yamin Ahmadzai (3/51). It was Jadeja’s first ball and he made Afghanistan pay for their largesse, adding 67 runs for the eighth wicket with Pandya as India got closer to 450.