Thursday, January 28, 2021

Afghanistan Fight Back In Historic First Test

Despite years of war in their home country, and being forced to train abroad since 2015, Afghanistan are finally taking part in their first ever test match. Becoming only the 12th Test nation last year, Afghanistan are playing their first test in India since achieving full member status of the International Cricket Council.

The one-off test, being played in Bangalore, marked a significant step in the development of cricket in Afghanistan. They have appeared in four Twenty20 World Cups. However, this has long been their goal, to play in the pinnacle format of the sport.

Long Road To Test Status For Afghanistan

It’s been a long, and treacherous, road to this stage for Afghanistan’s cricketers. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995 but didn’t achieve affiliate status of the ICC until 2001. Finally gaining one-day international status in 2009. They advanced to Associate membership in 2013, before achieving full member status last year.

Afghanistan have appeared in the last 4 ICC World Twenty20 tournaments, Qualifying for the Super 10 phase of the finals last time out. They have developed quickly as a T20 nation, with players like Rashid Khan leading the way at just 19 years-old. Khan was named the ICC Associate Cricketer of The Year in January 2018. The future definitely looks bright for Afghan cricket.

Fighting Back After Lunch

Rashid Khan Picked Up His First Test Wicket On Day One
Rashid Khan Picked Up His First Test Wicket On Day One © BCCI

It was a baptism of fire for the new boys. India got over to the perfect start cruising to 158-0 at lunch. Shikhar Dhawan racing to a century off just 78 balls. He became the first Indian to score 100 on the opening day of a test match. The overcast conditions had seemed likely to favour Afganistan early on, but that proved not to be the case.

However, the Afghans fought back straight after lunch, quickly taking the wicket of Dhawan. Yamin Ahmadzai pitching the ball outside off stump and getting the edge to second slip where Nabi took the catch. Indian settled in again after the wicket as opener Murali Vijay cruised to a century.

Once again Afghanistan continued to fight, taking the wickets of Vijay, and Rahul in just 3 balls to leave the hosts on 284-3. Wickets continued to fall at a steady rate, as Rahane, Pujara, and Karthik all fell in low digits.

It was a good day for the home side, finishing on 347-6. Afghanistan will be pleased with their fightback after a horrendous morning session.

The Teams For This Historic Match

India: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav

Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Afsar Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar


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