Afghanistan vs West Indies: Rahkeem Cornwall registers career-best 7/75 to bowl out Afg for 187
West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall’s first Test victim, on debut at Kingston in August, was Cheteshwar Pujara, arguably India’s best player of spin. He finished with three wickets in that game that India won with ease.
On Wednesday though Cornwall was almost unplayable, against a bunch of Test novices that Afghanistan proved to be on the first day of their one-off game here. A turning track by hosts Afghanistan played into the hands of the 26-year-old from Antigua, who captured 7/75 to put the Caribbean side ahead.
Afghanistan wasted a fine start that saw them reach a respectable 84/1, but collapsed against Cornwall to be skittled out for 187 at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium. Skipper Jason Holder, who had elected to bowl on winning the toss, took the other two wickets. West Indies were 68/2 at stumps in reply, with John Campbell (30) and Shamarh Brooks (19) at the crease.
Cornwall bowled a tight line, rather than look for sharp turn, in a 21-over spell interrupted only by the lunch break. He bowled 25.3 overs in all with Afghanistan lasting only 68.3 overs.
From 84/1, Afghanistan were reduced to 111/7 as Cornwall struck. Keeper-batsman Afsar Zazai and debutant Amir Hamza raised 54 runs for the eighth wicket to give the innings some respectability. That was until Cornwall trapped Zazai leg before with a straight one at the stroke of tea.
On resumption, he removed last man Yamin Ahmadzai, caught by Jomel Warrican, the left-arm spinner who had dismissed opener Javed Ahmadi (39), the top-scorer.
The Afghanistan batsmen paid for trying to counter Cornwall. Ihsanullah (24) nicked trying to play off the back foot and Shai Hope took a sharp catch at first slip. Introduced in the ninth over, he bowled 25.3 overs.
Afghanistan too fought back. Left-arm spinner Amir Hamza had his maiden Test wicket in Kraigg Brathwaite (11) when he fell leg before, before leg-spinner Rashid Khan got Shai Hope (7) to edge to Ihsanullah at the first slip. Two wickets in quick succession raised Afghanistan’s hopes, but Campbell and Brooks saw off the remaining 10.5 overs until stumps.
Afghanistan 1st Innings: 187 all out in 68.3 overs (Javed Ahmadi 39, Amir Hamza 34; Rakheem Cornwall 7/75).
West Indies 1st Innings: 68 for 2 in 22 overs (John Campbell 30 not out; Rashid Khan 1/24)