India vs Afghanistan: Two-day win shows gulf between the sides
This was the 21st time a Test ended in two days. India managed to bundle out Afghanistan twice in two sessions; for 109 in 27.5 overs between lunch and tea and for 103 in 38.4 overs in the last session to complete a facile win.
The idea of a team doing well in T20s and then managing to translate it in the Test was a little weak to start with. And it became clear when Afghanistan came out to bat.
After the bowlers, who tried too many variations, it was the turn of the batsmen to try one shot too many and perish.
After being bowled out for 474 just before lunch, India showed the virtues of sticking to line and length. The huge experience gap between the two sides just got wider.
Mohammad Shahzad will now know it’s one thing to go after the bowling in T20, but red ball cricket is a different beast.
Guilty of being run out in the first innings, while trying to steal a cheeky single, he fell for 13 in second trying to push at a ball without moving his feet.
From here on it was a matter of when not how. It was India’s game to take whenever they wanted it. On numerous occasions in the 65 overs that Afghanistan played, a few dot balls brought in a big shot, a hangover from too much T20 cricket.
Javed Ahmadi nicked one outside the off-stump, a ball which could have been easily left alone; Asghar Stanikzai was kept quiet for few balls before he tried to hit Ravindra Jadeja out of the park only to find Shikhar Dhawan at extra-cover.
Stanikzai had perished to a peach of delivery from R Ashwin in the first innings; the ball turning and sneaking in between bat and pad to dislodge the stumps.
If Mohammad Nabi showed the merits of patience in the first innings, it was Hashmatullah Shahidi in the second innings who put up some fight with an unbeaten 36 off 88 balls.
Ashwin took four wickets for 27 in the first innings, with Jadeja taking two. The roles were reversed as Afghanistan followed-on with Jadeja doing most of the damage (4 for 17) and Ashwin ending with 1/32. Umesh Yadav and Ishant finished with four wickets each in the match.
Ajinkya Rahane said he was surprised to win the match in two days and hoped Afghanistan would learn from this. “We didn’t want to take them lightly. But it’s just a beginning for them. With their bowling unit they could do a bit of damage to any team. It’s still a learning phase for them,” the India skipper said.
Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons said the team is disappointed as the way they lost. “I think, we can put the first two hours down to nervousness but today, I don’t know what the answer to that performance is. I can say 30% of it was because of the occasion but it has a lot more to do with naivety. You can play as much four-day cricket as possible but when you get in big league its shows,” he said.