Afghanistan skittled out for 109, India enforce follow-on at tea on Day 2
Bengaluru, Jun 15 (PTI) India predictably exposed the serious limitations in Afghanistan's batting with the visitors being skittled out for a paltry 109 in 27.5 overs at tea on the second day as the historic one-off Test match looked poised for an early finish.
With a huge lead of 365 runs, Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane had no hesitation in enforcing follow-on.
This was after Hardik Pandya's 71 ensured an impressive first innings total of 474 for the home team.
Batting was always going to be Afghanistan's Achilles heel' as the inexperienced line-up simply didn't have the technique or the temperament to face quality swing and seam bowling from Ishant Sharma (2/28 in 5 overs) and Umesh Yadav (1/18 in 6 overs).
Every batsman seemed to be on a limited overs mode without any respect for an aspect called patience which is an integral component of Test cricket. The result was an entire innings was over within one session with only Mohamed Nabi (24) crossing the 20-run mark.
Once the top-order was blown away, Ravichandran Ashwin (4/27 in 8 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/18 in 3.5 overs) made short work of the middle and lower-order as the second day turned into a totally one-sided contest.
It started with the dismissal of portly Mohammed Shahzad (14), who was needlessly run-out as Pandya' direct throw found him short of his crease.
Ishant, fresh from an impressive county stint, bowled a perfect off-cutter that breached through Javed Ahmadi's (1) defences pegging back the middle stump.
Rehmat Shah was trapped plumb in-front by Umesh Yadav, who completed an individual milestone of 100 Test wickets.
The Indian seamers bowled to a probing channel and the Afghans were forced into committing mistakes. Having not played bowling of this caliber also contributed to their dismal show.
The delivery of the innings was bowled by Ishant to wicketkeeper-batsman Afsar Zazai (6). A full delivery that swung late, had Zazai clean bowled to make it 35 for 4 for the visitors.
Ashwin then fooled rival captain Ashgar Stanikzai (11) with a classical off-break. He tossed one up outside the off-stump enticing the skipper to go for expansive drive only to find it turn sharply disturbing the woodwork.
The others simply came and went as it turned out to be a no-contest.
Earlier, all-rounder Pandya mixed caution with aggression en route his stroke-filled knock as India posted a commendable total, which seemed to be good enough for the minnows.
Last man Umesh Yadav also entertained the spectators with some lusty blows as his 26 off 21 balls also helped in beefing up India's total.
Courtesy Pandya's third half-century in Test cricket, India added 127 runs during the first session of the second day as Afghanistan skipper Ashgar Stanikzai didn't take the second new ball during the 104.5 overs.
Pandya's innings had 10 boundaries and he faced 91 balls. What stood out was his discretion with regards to shot selection knowing that there weren't too many wickets in hand. He was ready to wait for the loose balls and at times played copybook forward defensive strokes.
Senior pro Ashwin played a poor stroke chasing a widish delivery from pacer Yamin Ahmadzai (3/51 in 19 overs) to be caught behind for 18.
However, Pandya decided to attack after Ashwin's departure as he hit a flurry of boundaries in Ravindra Jadeja's (20) company.
Jadeja gave Mohammed Nabi the charge, hitting him for a six but was holed out in the deep going for the second maximum.
The duo added 67 runs in only 13 overs, taking advantage of the old ball which wasn't doing much. However, pacer Wafadar (2/100 in 21 overs) was still getting the ball rear up awkwardly at times.
Pandya showed intent with back-to-back boundaries off Rashid Khan (2/154 in 34.5 overs) on drive and a cover drive.
He was ready to play those singles and doubles to keep the scoreboard moving. He completed his half-century with a slog sweep off Mohammmed Nabi.
After the completion of his half-century, Pandya played a classic on-drive off Wafadar followed by a pull-shot.
He was finally caught behind trying to play the ramp shot. It brought Yadav, who immediately hit Wafadar for a boundary and two huge sixes before Rashid trapped Ishant leg before to wrap up the innings