Here we were, wondering whether the rain of June would even allow a result in this test match. Wondering whether the game would need more than 5 days to seal itself. India has thrown all that out the window with a 2-day test match which was only a second of its kind in Asia. The mighty Indians needed only 2 days to trample all over the weak Afghans who have a lot of work to do after this shameful defeat. This was also India’s largest Test Match victory ever. This was also the Test Match where the fewest balls were bowled by India and the fewest runs were scored against India. I’d say that India are all set for the England tour now and that they can surely win the trophy there.
What Went Wrong? – Bowling
For the Afghans, they pride themselves on their bowling attack. Well, in this match, the main problem was the opening partnership. The captain was most at fault here. Even when he saw that both the openers were gathering pace hitting shots in only one part of the ground, he still kept an attacking field and did not realise that that would allow India to get into their groove. Another problem was that their spinners did not live up to their reputation. Their combined figures added up to 4 wickets giving away 294 runs. That’s not really good for Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Zadran and Mohammad Nabi as a group. But they will learn with time and hopefully come back stronger. One special thing was that after India won, Rahane called the Afghan team to pose with the trophy. This shows sporting gesture and I’m sure it gave inspiration to the Afghan team too.
What Went Wrong? – Batting
This was known before the tournament as Afghanistan’s Achilles Heel and all the Afghan batsmen did was to confirm the fact. There was a certain hurry to play shots among the batsmen. Mohammad Shahzad played all attacking shots and was a guest of few balls. Javed Ahmadi failed to impress with scores of 1 and 3. Rahmat Shah had a good technique but lacked cricketing sense. In the first innings, Mohammad Nabi proved that he was the most experienced player in the Afghan side, but in the second innings, he too went without scoring. Asghar Stanikzai, the captain played very well and at one moment, it felt as if Afghanistan could avoid innings defeat, but he too undid all his hard work with a stupid shot straight into the hands of Dhawan. The only plus point for Afghanistan was Hashmatullah Shahidi, who came up with double figures in both the innings and remained unbeaten in the second one too.
Remember that this match had been played without Virat Kohli. So when he returns, India will have to change their team. Now that Dhawan and Vijay have given good performances, they are set as the openers. Pujara is set at 3 and Kohli is set at 4. Rahane, Karthik and KL Rahul are fighting for 5 and 6. Don’t forget that KL Rahul is a part-time keeper too. So he can come in for Dinesh Karthik. All of these things need to be thought over by the Indian team management. Also, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar will be back for the England tour. After good performances by Umesh. Hardik and Ishant, would it be okay to drop any of them? Or would only one out of Jadeja and Ashwin get to play at the expense of another fast bowler? India has reached a sticky point right now.