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|Mujib Ur Rahman||3||8||0||0||37.50|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||15.0||1||75||1||5.00|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||15||9||2||1||166.67|
Afghanistan is about to play its first test match and we are sure this moment will be regarded as a historic one in the times to come. Not only for Afghanistan but for cricket as a whole. Their rise to this level has been meteoric and rarely has a team looked as ready to take the next step as Afghanistan does. Test cricket, though, is regarded as the pinnacle of the sport for a reason. It will take everything that Afghanistan has to barely compete. Any kind of period of dominance will be regarded as success.
Afghanistan’s opponent for this match is India, currently, the number one ranked team in the world. Playing India in India is considered as one of the toughest asks in cricket and so Afghanistan is certainly being thrown straight into the deep end.
Can the Afghans script something special for their first match or will India run them over?
A one-off match against Afghanistan in what is usually the off-season for Indian cricket is not going to be the easiest of tasks for the team. Players are coming into this test match after a long season playing the IPL or honing their skill on the English county circuit.
The Indian team also heads straight to England for a long full tour and it is understandable if some of the players are already thinking about the challenge ahead.
All that must be put to the side, though, when India takes field. As the number one test side in the world, India has a target on its back and it will be expected to dominate Afghanistan. There are several questions plaguing this Indian team at the moment.
The Indian team is going to without its best batsman, Virat Kohli, who has a slight niggle. That leaves a hole in the middle order with no clear contender. Karun Nair has been brought in as a replacement for Rohit Sharma but he could struggle to find a place in the playing eleven.
India also has to choose between Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, and Shikhar Dhawan for the two opening positions. We have to think that Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay remain the first two choice openers but Lokesh Rahul has also been in a very rich vein of form.
Will the Indian team look to play Rahul in the middle order in place of Virat Kohli?
Cheteshwar Pujara did not play the IPL and has been playing in England. Scoring runs, though, has been very difficult for him so far. Pujara is very bankable in familiar home conditions and should be able to score runs without any trouble.
With Rahane at 5 who does not like the slow Indian pitches too much, Dinesh Karthik making a comeback at 6, and Hardik Pandya at 7, India has a deep batting lineup but one that is looking more jittery than usual.
Ashwin and Jadeja are a lock to play this match while Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are set to be the two fast bowlers. India is resting two of its frontline fast bowlers and will be without its best batsman but there is still plenty of class in this team.
Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, I Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Afghanistan has adopted grounds in India as their ‘home ground’ since continuing unrest in their own country does not allow them to host matches. Their last series was a T20 tri-series against Bangladesh which they won 3-0.
The best part about that result was that Afghanistan did not think it was an upset. The Afghans have tremendous self-belief and are willing to back themselves every time they take the field. There is no doubt that the Afghanistan team will go into their first game with positivity but their lack of experience at this level is going to be a huge hurdle to overcome.
Not only has the Afghanistan team played too much test cricket, they have not played too much of the longer format of the game at the first class level either. The batsmen will have to show patience and be able to play for time while the bowlers will need to find a way to take 20 wickets when the opposition batsmen are not attacking them.
The gaps between sides are magnified in test cricket and that is why the better team ends up winning in most cases.
Afghanistan has some good players which could make this match interesting. We have to start with their bowling lineup which comprises of Rashid Khan, Mujee Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, and maybe Zahir Khan.
All of these bowlers are world class but untested at the test level. India is not going to give these bowlers a rank turner and is likely to offer a track with some green covering on it. This will make life tough for Afghanistan ‘s spinners and also push their batsmen to the limit.
Speaking of the Afghani batting, no one knows which side will turn up. Players like Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Asghar Stanikzai, and others will need to score plenty of runs for their side to even have a chance of pulling off an upset.
The Bangalore surface could offer enough bounce in it for the Afghanistan batsmen to be tested by quality Indian seamers. As the surface dries out, the Indian spinners will become the main threat facing Afghanistan’s batsmen.
Everything seems to be stacked against Afghanistan but that is not a situation unfamiliar to them and they have overcome everything thrown at them so far.
M Shahzad, MJ Ahmadi, R Shah, MA Stanikzai, Afsar Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Rain is predicted on most days of the test match. The monsoon season is about to engulf India and we may see the folly of scheduling cricket during this time of the month. We will have to be very lucky to be able to get a result from this game because a lot of time is expected to be lost.
The pitch will be slightly damp, have some green grass on it, and offer help to the seamers early on. The nature of the Bangalore pitch has changed to one that offers plenty of assistance to the spinners. The slow bowlers from both sides will come into the game from the third day onwards.
Winning their maiden test match would be a dream for Afghanistan. People all over the world will be cheering them on as they become the newest country to join test cricket. Unfortunately for them, test cricket is a harsh environment and we think they are about to learn why it is called the true test of any cricketer.
Back India to win.