Glorious Milestone For Afghanistan Cricket
The rookies of Test Cricket Afghanistan playing only its third test ever achieved a significant milestone crushing favorite Bangladesh in its backyard by massive 224 runs.
But very well organized and determined Afghans rather turned the wicket of Photogram “Karbala “for Bangladesh cricketers. Against a 4+3 = 7 men strong spinners attack Afghans batted with patience, concentration and composure in either innings scoring 342 + 260 =602 runs.
On the same surface world class Afghanistan spinners Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi , Qais Ahmed and Zakir Khan toying with much vaunted Bangladesh batsmen crushed them to 205+ 173= 378 Runs. The consequence was a humiliating 224 runs crushing defeat for the home team. Rookie Afghans taught Bangladesh lessons how to play test cricket.
Afghanistan winning two test matches in only third appearance equaled the record of Australia. Afghan captain Rashid Khan became the youngest cricketer ever winning the test match. The way the team a wonderful blend of bubbling young cricketers batted, bowled and fielded evidenced that in not too distant future they would surpass many established teams in world cricket in all formats.
Needless mentioning that they are already a formidable team in T20. In the CWC2019 only for lack of experience Afghanistan could not win against formidable India and Pakistan.
Bangladesh on the other hand cared little for making required preparations. After a CWC 2019 mission of mixed success BCB hurriedly changed its coaching staff. No post mortem was done of lopsided batting and fielding in CWC2019. Very casual few days conditioning camp was held.
Captain Shakib joined late after enjoying long leave, leading batsman Tamim stayed on rest for regaining his form. New bowling coach and head coach were in a mission for fine tuning Bangladesh pace attack which they considered to much essential for winning tests consistently. Taskin, Ebadat, Rahi and Mustafiz were shaping well.
But surprising all Bangladesh think tank went for all out spin attack. 4 regular and 3 occasional spinners were stuffed in the playing eleven. Not a single genuine pacer was selected against a team known for its quality spin attack.
Obviously Afghanistan are as good players of spin as any other sub continental team. Using the same strategy as that was successfully applied against England and Australia boomeranged against Afghanistan.
The tourists won and toss and elected to bat. Afghans batted with great concentration, passion and commitment. Quality batsmen Rahmat Shah (102) entered history scoring the first ever test century. Former captain Asghar Afghan scored 92. Young Afghan captain played cameo of 51.
342 runs first innings on a sluggish wicket against a spin heavy wicket put Afghanistan in a comfortable position. Of the Bangladeshi spinners Taijul in his marathon spell took 4/116. In that process he also became the quickest Bangladeshi bowler in 25 tests taking 100 wickets. Shakib and Miraz two leading spinners failed to impress.
On a wicket where Afghans played the home bowlers with passion Bangladesh huffed and puffed from the start. Nabi, Rashid, Zakir and Qais made every Bangladesh batsman perspire. Young Shadman was removed before opening his account by Yamin.
Ahmadzai, a genuine pacer. Liton, Mushfiqur, Shakib, Mahmudullah, Soumya, Miraz all failed miserably. Only Mominul could reach 52 .But he too threw away his wicket. The ignominy of following on was looming. Luckily Mosaddek and Taijul railed late with a 48 runs 8th wicket partnership.
Bangladesh could reach 205. Afghanistan earned a massive 137 runs first innings lead. Top leg spinner of the world Rashid took 5/55. Veteran off spinner Nabi playing his last test took 3/56. Bangladesh got rocked and awed.
Afghans second innings started disastrously as Shakib struck two deadly blows in his very first over removing opener Ihasanullah and first innings centurion Rahmat Shah. Nayeem taking the wicket of Hashmatullah Shahidi soon created some sensation.
But riding on young shoulder of opener Ibrahim Zadran and Asghar Afghan the visitors recovered. Zadran went on scoring 87, Asghar scored his second fifty of the match. Rashid again blasted 5 boundaries in one over of Nayeem in his cameo of 24. Afghan innings was closed at 260 reaching an impregnable position of 397 runs lead on a wearing wicket. Fate of Bangladesh was curbed.
Litton, Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah, Mominul failed again. Shadman was looking good but could not continue. Mosaddek promoted in the batting order also committed suicide. Shakib tinkered with the batting order. If rain did not interfere the match could be over on day four.
Incessant over night rain and dark cloud threatened to deprive deserving Afghans on day five. However, nature always reward sincere efforts. About 18.3 overs were available on the rain affected final day. Shakib and Soumya at the wicket, Miraz, Taijul and Naeem to follow were expected to bat out.
But vintage Rashid serving the killer blows warped up Bangladesh innings for 173. Afghans won huge and handsome by 224 runs.
Rashid Khan the youngest ever captain creating many milestones was adjudged player of the match for his brilliant all round performance (11/ 104 and 75 runs). He had the magnanimity of dedicating his award to veteran Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi retiring from Test cricket.
Afghanistan was by far the better team of the test .They batted much better, fielded well and bowled superbly. Bangladesh was no match. This defeat nakedly exposed the inherent weakness of Bangladesh in test cricket. The only strategy of trapping visiting teams on turning track boomeranged.
BCB never do home work about opposition. They care less about longer version domestic cricket. The success of Afghanistan came through sincere dedicated endeavors and appropriate preparations.
Winning and losing are part of any game. But there must be authentic enquiry into why such a wicket was prepared knowing well Afghans weakness and strength? Why such a poorly conceived playing eleven was selected? Bangladesh captain Shakib mentioned in press meet that it was not the wicket they wanted.
But knowing well the situation why he experimented with the batting order? Shakib also mentioned about his reluctance about leading the side. Why? He wants serious discussions with the management. These must be looked into.
Due credit must be given to Afghans for a very well earned win. They will definitely perform to their reputation in T20 series. It now wants to be seen whether Bangladesh can compete better in T20 series. It will be also interesting to see how Bangladesh prepares for much difficult challenge against India soon.
OBHAI Only Test Match:
Afghanistan Vs Bangladesh Played at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Photogram from 5- 9 September 2019.
Brief Scorecard :
Afghanistan 1st Innings 342 All Out (Rahmat Shah 102, Asghar Afghan 92, Rashid Khan 51, Afsar Zazai 41, Ibrahim Zadran 21, Taijul Islam 4/116, Nayeem Hasan 2/43, Shakib Al Hasan 2/64)
Bangladesh 1st Innings 205 All Out (Mominul Haque 52, Mosaddek Hossain 48*, Liton K Das 33, Rashid Khan 5/55, Mohammad Nabi 3/56) and Bangladesh 2nd Innings: 173 All Out (Shadman Islam 41, Shakib Al Hasan 44,Mushfiqur Rahim 23 , Rashid Khan 6/49, Zakir Khan 3/59 , Mohammad Nabi 1/ 38)
AFGHANISTHAN WON THE TEST BY 224 Runs.
Player of the Match: Rashid Khan