Spin-heavy Afghanistan face India in historic Test

As Afghanistan gear up to face India in their inaugural Test match, all cameras are zoomed in on them.

Hailing the feat achieved by Afghanistan, Modi said it had come in "challenging and difficult" circumstances.

Afghan cricket grew out of refugee camps in Pakistan where many Afghans lived after fleeing the conflict in their country in the 1980s and 1990s and where cricket, as in much of South Asia, is often played on the streets.

Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June.

Rahane said that he was yet to discuss the XI with coach Ravi Shastri.

"Cricket has been a source of happiness and pride for all Afghans", said Afghanistan Cricket Board chief Atif Mashal at the time. "Everyone knows (Afghanistan) is a tough place and the turmoil that they are going through, yet they are able to inspire people with their performances". Last year, Afghanistan became one of 12 countries that qualified for the five-day format played by the world's cricketing elite.

The explosive Indian opener hammered 19 fours and 3 sixes as he reached his century in 91 balls on the opening day of the historic India-Afghanistan test match at Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.

And Indian batsman Karun Nair, famed for his triple century in his third Test against England in 2016, cast doubt on Stanikzai s claim of spin superiority.

Amid bombing by the USA forces after September 11, Afghanistan got ICC's recognition.

The lack of incision in the pace department could also haunt Asghar Stanikzai's men as they hope to usurp the Indians.

The hosts have picked their experienced spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, leaving left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav out of the starting line-up.

Most cricket-loving Afghans were watching the match on TV back home as they prepared for a three-day public holiday marking the Muslim festival of Eid.

Two balls later, Lokesh Rahul, promoted to number three ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara, chopped an innocuous Ahmadzai delivery onto his stumps to depart after a fluent 54.Leading the Indian side in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who is recovering from a neck injury, Rahane made 10 before becoming Rashid´s maiden test victim. "We will focus on our strengths and positives", said Rahane.

PM Modi, who has been extremely vocal regarding the importance of sports in recent times, further went on to add that Test match will help in strengthening ties between the two nations.

Rashid Khan remains the Afghan side's biggest weapon - his googlies and flippers have proved to be a menace for batsmen in T20s, but there won't be hurried strokes or exaggerated strikes in Tests, he will have to continuously derive something off the pitch.

  • Stacy Allen