Bengaluru Test: Afghan fightback reduces India to 347/6 at stumps

M. Vijay played cautiously during the first session of play. Photo: AP

06:02 pm: STUMPS, India finishes the day six for 347. The final session of the day, after the second rain delay, produced five wickets for Afghanistan, which will be delighted with how the day panned out after a couple of tough sessions to begin with. R. Ashwin and Hardik Pandya will resume proceedings on day two.

05:47 pm: RUN OUT! Dinesh Karthik caught short of his crease despite a full-stretch dive to try to save himself! He sets off for a tight single after hitting the ball to cover, Hardik Pandya doesn't respond. Left stranded, Karthik turns around and dives full stretch to almost make the ground, but Zazai, the wicketkeeper, collects Nasir Jamal's throw on the bounce and dislodges the stumps. Gone for 4, India six for 334. R. Ashwin is the new batsman in.

05:42 pm: Another probing over from Rashid, goes past the outside edge of Hardik Pandya and manages to keep the batsmen honest. Hardik and Dinesh Karthik focussed on survival for the rest of the day's play. India five for 332.

05:34 pm: CLOSE! Dinesh Karthik, struck on the pads by Rashid Khan, survives! The on-field umpire's decision stands and Afghanistan loses its second and final review.

05:28 pm: Wicket! Mohammad Nabi, fielding at leg gully, makes up for his earlier drop, diving low to his left to take the catch that dismisses Cheteshwar Pujara for 35 and gives Mujeeb Ur Rahman his maiden Test wicket. The drop catch off Rashid cost Afghanistan only five runs. India now five for 328, Hardik Pandya has walked in to face the music.

05:23 pm: Dropped! Rashid Khan has begun to pose problems and he should have had his second wicket. A length ball with extra bounce catches the outside edge and Mohammad Nabi, who reacted late, drops the catch. Pujara gets a reprieve.

05:15 pm: OUT! Rashid Khan has struck... finally! Ajinkya Rahane has been given out lbw on review, out for 45-ball 10. The umpire Chris Gaffaney's decision was not out, Afghanistan review the decision and, to its own surprise, had the decision overturned. India reduced to four for 318 and the comeback man, Dinesh Karthik, has walked to the middle.

05:00 pm: This is easily the most absorbing phase of the day's play, with Yamin Ahmadzai and Wafadar in operation and posing a challenge for the Indian batsmen. India, mind you, is still in a position of strength at three for 304. Rahane is not out on 5 and Pujara is batting on 19.

4:40 pm: Yamin Ahmadzai thought he had his third wicket, but Ajinkya Rahane successfully reviews Paul Reifel's decision and India remains three down. Afghanistan's seamers are proving a constant menace here! India is three for 290.

4:23 pm: Just 11 runs have come off the last four overs from Yamin Ahmadzai and Wafadar. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara attempt to navigate their way through this tricky phase. India is three for 288 after 55 overs and 24 more overs are left in the day's play.

4:10 pm: OUT! K. L. Rahul is dismissed trying to cut a ball that was too close to play the shot, ends up chopping it onto the stumps. Yamin Ahmadzai with his second Test wicket, Rahul walks back for 64-ball 54. Two wickets in quick succession for Afghanistan!

4:07 pm: OUT! Vijay has been dismissed lbw for 105 off 153 balls. Shouldering arms to an inswinger from Wafadar, the Tamil Nadu opener was struck on the pads and the umpire deemed the ball to be crashing into the stumps. India two for 280, Cheteshwar Pujara, the designated No. 3, has walked in to join Rahul, who walked in at No. 3 today.

4 pm: It has been a while in the middle for Vijay and the opener desperately needed to get to the three-figure mark. After multiple rain delays, he gets to his 100 with a four off Wafadar. The cut over point takes him to 103 off 143 balls. Rahul, batting on 44, is inching closer to his 11 half-century.

Rahul carries his IPL form into Tests, smashes a brilliant half-century off 61 balls.

IN OTHER NEWS

Afghanistan’s debut Test turned out to be a memorable day for Tamil Nadu cricket as well. It was after 57 years that three cricketers from the state played in a same Test match.

On Thursday, when India named Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Ravichandran Ashwin in its playing eleven, history was created. The last time three Tamil Nadu players featured in a same Test match was in 1961. Taking on England in a Test in Bombay, India team had fielded G. Milkha Singh, A.G. Kripal Singh and V.V. Kumar for the Test.

 

3:43 pm: The sub-air system at the ground is helping clear the puddles. The last update, after the inspection, says play likely to resume at 3:50 pm.

 

Rain stops play, India 263-1

3 pm: As the covers came off, Rahul found his mojo. The right-hander smashed two quick fours to get into the 40s. Vijay, on the other hand, is handling his nervous nineties well by stealing quick singles. Wafadar, one of the economical bowlers this morning, is trying his best to ask questions to the batsmen. After 48 overs, India moved to 263-1 amid constant rain threat.

Day 1, tea report

India’s openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay put the team in the driver’s seat on the first day of the one-off Test against Afghanistan.

At the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday, Dhawan played a knock of 107 before being dismissed by pacer Yamin Ahmadzai, Vijay was unbeaten on 94 to guide the host to 248-1 at tea.

In it’s first-ever Test outing, the Afghanistan team looked a bit clueless, with its highly-praised spin attack biting the dust. And taking advantage of that, Dhawan and Vijay stitched an opening partnership of 168 to help the side get off to a flier.

And in the process, Dhawan also became the first Indian batsman to score a century before lunch on the first day of a Test match.

Over all, he, however, is the sixth batsman to achieve the feat. The list includes legends like Donald Bradman, Victor Trumper, C Macartney, Majid Khan and David Warner.

But the opener lost the plot a while after the lunch falling to Mohammad Nabi at slips off Ahmadzai. However, Vijay paired up with K. L. Rahul—unbeaten on 33—to ensure there was no slip-up.

Before the action got underway, there were speculations that the Afghan spinners—mainly Rashid Khan—will keep the host team under pressure. But winning the toss and opting to bat first, Indian batsmen never allowed the new entrant to settle down.

While Dhawan went in on for the big shots, Vijay anchored the ship on the other end, and this strategy worked for the side. India decided to field all three opening specialists—Dhawan, Vijay and Rahul—dropping home boy Karun Nair. And crafting his innings with 19 boundaries and three sixes, Dhawan justified his selection.

Going and hammer and tongs at the Afghan spinners, Dhawan ensured that India got off to a flashy start. As India flexed muscles with Vijay and Rahul dominating the Afghans, heavy rain stopped play forcing the umpires to call for an early tea.

India: 248-1; M Vijay 94*, K.L. Rahul 33 (48)

1:18 pm: Vijay is giving it all here; diving to steal runs and with the mud on his shirt, swinging the bat with ease. A fantastic reverse sweep off Nabi takes him to 80. Afghanistan has used five bowlers till now. Surprisingly, they didn’t live up to the spin hype.

Out of 228 runs that India scored till now, Rashid, Mujeeb and Nabi conceded 164 runs. Rashid has leaked 82 off 12 overs.

12:58 pm: Now, K.L. Rahul the new batsman in at No 3 is trying to hold the innings together. It will be interesting to see Vijay’s approach now. The seasoned right-hander from Tamil Nadu started accelerating after reaching his half-century.

India reach 200 in the 37th over with Vijay batting on 74 (106) and Rahul on 6 (18).

12:28 pm: Afghanistan strikes after lunch, picks its first Test wicket in Dhawan.

 

The left-hander departs for a 96-ball 107. It was a loose drive from Dhawan, edged to first slip. Rahmat Shah, aiming for the catch, got the first touch. The ball deflected to Nabi at first slip.

Murali Vijay in action against Afghanistan at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  TWITTER/@BCCI

 

Vijay brings up his half-century, his 16 in Tests. The hard working fifty came off 79 balls (seven fours and one one six).

 

LUNCH ANALYSIS

Dhawan hammered a century as India gained the upper hand against debutant Afghanistan at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.

At lunch, India was at 158-0, with Dhawan remaining unbeaten on 104 in 91 balls. His opening partner, Murali Vijay, was batting on 41. With the ton, Dhawan also became the first Indian batsman to score a century before lunch on the first day of a Test match.

Over all, he, however, is the sixth batsman to achieve the feat. The list includes legends like Donald Bradman, Victor Trumper, C Macartney, Majid Khan and David Warner.

Before the action got underway, there were speculations that the Afghan spinners — mainly Rashid Khan — will keep the host team under pressure. But winning the toss and opting to bat first, Indian batsmen never allowed the new entrant to settle down.

While Dhawan went in on for the big shots, Vijay anchored the ship on the other end, and this strategy worked for the side. India decided to field all three opening specialists — Dhawan, Vijay and K. L. Rahul —dropping home boy Karun Nair. And crafting his innings with 19 boundaries and three sixes, Dhawan justified his selection.

Going and hammer and tongs at the Afghan spinners, Dhawan ensured that India got off to a flashy start.

LUNCH BREAK; India 158-0 (27)

11:30 am: Dhawan becomes the sixth batsman in the history of Test cricket to score a hundred before lunch. The ton, off 87 balls, is his seventh in red ball cricket.

The other five

Victor Trumper (Australia) v England in Manchester, 1902

Charles Macartney (Australia) v England in Leeds, 1921

Don Bradman (Australia) v England in Leeds, 1930

Majid Khan (Pakistan) v New Zealand in Karachi, 1976

David Warner (Australia) v Pakistan in Sydney, 2017

Shikhar Dhawan (India) v Afghanistan in Bengaluru, 2018

 

Currently unbeaten on 104 off 91 balls, Dhawan’s innings — laced with 19 fours and three sixes — also entered the history books; a century in the historic Test match. Vijay — who has been out of action for a long time — is doing the job of an anchor with an unbeaten 41.

11:10 am: The Afghanistan bowlers are still looking for that magic moment. Rashid Khan has conceded 34 off his first four overs; surprisingly, his economy in T20 cricket is a tad better keeping the quota of overs in mind. Mujeeb ur Rahman is proving to be expensive too. The youngster leaked 14 in his first two overs.

It seems Dhawan has decided to continue the onslaught and let Vijay hold the innings. The left-hander has quickly moved to 81, Vijay is batting on 28. India is almost going at six an over.

10:30 am: Contrasting starts from the two openers. While M. Vijay is watchful in the first hour of play, Dhawan is a little more enterprising, having hit seven fours and a six in his innings so far. Dhawan has been particularly severe on off-spinner Nabi, who now partners Wafadar with the ball.

Wafadar continues to surprise batsmen with some accurate deliveries. One of them almost took the edge of Dhawan through to the wicketkeeper.

10:01 am: With some early swing movement from both Afghanistan seamers — Ahmedzai and Wafadar — the openers have had to be cautious. A few loose deliveries are provided amid a cluster of accurate ones, and they are duly dispatched to the boundary by both players. Wafadar has been hit for three boundaries so far.

9:35 am: Players have taken their positions, and it's time for the historic contest to begin. Yamin Ahmedzai runs up and doesn't deliver the first ball! He bowls the first ball eventually; M. Vijay inside-edges it on to his thigh pad and takes a leg-bye.

India wins the toss and opts to bat first in the historic one-off Test against Afghanistan at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday.

Putting speculations to rest, the team fielded all three openers — Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, K. L. Rahul. This meant, homeboy Karun Nair was left out along with chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav.

Afghanistan, too, decided to play Mohammad Shahzad as a specialist batsman, making way for Afsar Zazai behind the stumps. Young gun Wafadar Momand, too, is in the side.

Teams

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

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

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M. Chinnaswamy Stadium is witness to a historic moment as Afghanistan takes its first steps into the Test arena. Asghar Stanikzai's men play India in a one-off Test in Bengaluru, keen to make a mark after what has been a long wait to gain the privilege of playing the oldest and toughest international format.

Filled with spinners, the team will be up against the daunting batting line-up of the World's No. 1 Test side. Although Stanizkai has been smug and nonchalant about the upcoming challenge, his side will hope to avoid folding over too easily.

 

This Test completes a landmark year for the format, with Ireland having had made its Test bow against Pakistan in May.

Welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the one-off Test between India and Afghanistan. In case you missed it, here's the preview.