Afghanistan will embark on a new journey in their cricket history when they make their Test debut against a Virat Kohli-less No.1-ranked India in the historic one-off Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday. Afghanistan, who are rising through the ranks of world cricket, have named a spin-heavy squad for their debut Test to give India a taste of their own medicine. The squad comprises five spinners in Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan and left-arm spinner Hamza Kotak, who incidentally emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded first-class competition.
India have a little advantage in the upcoming Test as their batsmen have already faced a couple of Afghan spinners in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Afghan stars Rashid and Mujeeb enjoyed fruitful campaigns in the IPL, playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab respectively. But the home side have to be a little conscious that they don’t slip on a potential banana skin as they come into the game without any match practice. India also have a couple of new players in their squad, which will make Rahane’s task of fielding the right combination a bit difficult.
Three key players – regular skipper Kohli along with pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested as they prepare for the challenging tour to England next month. New inclusions like wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini and Karun Nair will aim to make the most of this chance and would like to cement their place in the playing XI.
The batting department seems settled with the likes of Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Karun Nair and Dinesh Karthik. In the bowling department, India have the star spinning trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav along with pacers Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur. (LIVE SCORECARD)
Live updates between India vs Afghanistan, One-off Test, Day 1, straight from M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
10:39 IST : Fifty for Dhawan! Juicy full toss from Rashid Khan and Dhawan punches the ball to collect a boundary. 51 not out off 48 balls from Dhawan. The southpaw is dealing in boundaries and has taken on the spinners, collecting three boundaries off Rashid’s first over. IND 75-0 after 14 overs.
10:36 IST : Rashid Khan is here! Second bowling change for Afghanistan as teenage sensation Rashid Khan has been brought on by skipper Asghar Stanikzai.
10:32 IST : Drinks! India have started off on a positive note. Both Dhawan and Vijay have negotiated the new ball pretty well. Dhawan has attacked spinner Nabi in his three overs, collecting two boundaries in the over just before drinks. Wafadar has been the bowler to watch out for in the first 13 over and till now has bowled six overs troubling both Dhawan and Vijay on a couple of occasions. IND 62-0 after 13 overs.
10:25 IST : Fifty up on the board for India! Dhawan and Vijay collect 12 runs in the 11th over to take the team’s total fifty. IND 54-0 after 11 overs.
10:21 IST : SIX! First six of the match. Dhawan dances down the track and clobbers Nabi for a maximum over his head. IND 48-0 after 10.1 overs.
10:15 IST : Nabi ends his first over giving away only a single. Both Dhawan and Vijay have been watchful. Single for Dhawan in the ninth over. IND 41-0after 9 overs.
10:11 IST : First bowling change for Afghanistan. Spin it is. Asghar Stanikzai brings off-spinner Mohammad Nabi on the attack in the ninth over. IND 40-0after 8 overs.
10:06 IST : 13 runs off the seventh over. Yamin has not been accurate with his line and length. Two boundaries on the leg and one on the off side for southpaw Dhawan. IND 36-0.
10:02 IST : WIDE! First wide ball of the match. Yamin throws the ball too far outside the off-stump after getting hit by Dhawan for a boundary towards square leg on the previous ball. IND 28-0.
09:57 IST : After the end of five overs India are 18 without loss. There hasn’t been much of a movement off the seam in the first five overs. Both Yamin and Wafadar have bowled decently, occasionally drifting down the leg side. Indian openers have been watchful and have played the ball according to the merit. IND 18-0 after 5 overs.
09:43 IST : Couple of boundaries to end the second over. Dhawan slams two boundaries off Wafadar towards cover region in the second over. IND 10-0after 2 overs.
09:40 IST : Decent start from Afghanistan. Just a couple of singles in the first over. c Ahmadzai has bowled with a decent line and length. However his speed has only been in the mid 120’s. IND 2-0 after 1 over.
09:35 IST : Right on the money! Wicket to wicket ball from Yamin Ahmadzai and Vijay taps it for a single. India open their account. IND 1-0.
09:30 IST : Shikhar Dhawan and Murli Vijay are out at the center to start the proceedings for India. Yamin Ahmadzai will open the bowling for Afghanistan. Murli Vijay will face the first ball. Three slips and a gully for Afghanistan in the opening over.
09:20 IST : Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in on the ground alongside BCCI and ACB officials for the historic occasion.
09:14 IST : Playing XI for India : Murli Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
09:13 IST : First ever Test playing XI for Afghanistan : Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Afsar Zazai (wk), Rashid Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
09:00 IST : Toss : India win the toss and opt to bat first against Afghanistan.
08:53 IST : Pitch Report : Lots of lateral movement expected on Day 1 of the Test as there is a tinge of green on the surface. Bright sunshine on the the ground. Win the toss and bowl first says Sunil Gavaskar in his pitch report.
08:50 IST : Boys are on the field, warming-up ahead of the toss.
08:46 IST : Big day is finally here for Afghanistan as they gear up for their maiden Test against number one ranked team India.
08:45 IST : Hello and welcome to the live blog of Day 1 of the one-off Test between India and Afghanistan straight from M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
Having won all their last six Test series at home in the previous season, the Indians are expected to sail through easily as they aim to start the season on a high and take the confidence to the five-Test rubber in England. With a spin-heavy squad, the Afghans may be surely aiming for a fairy tale start to their Test journey as skipper Asghar Stanikzai also backed his spinners being better than the home trio of Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep. In reality, the Indians have been more or less comfortable against the slower bowlers in the previous season barring the first Test against Australia in Pune last year. Afghanistan, on the other hand, won’t find the going too easy against the seasoned Indian campaigners. While the star-studded bowling line-up has hogged most of the limelight, the Afghans would expect their batsmen to contribute equally if they hope for a dream start to their Test journey.
Source@ NDTV Sports