Team India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane revealed that his team was determined to be “ruthless” in their approach after the hosts defeated Afghanistan by an innings and 262 runs inside two days in its debut Test match in Bengaluru. The Afghans’ dream of registering a win in their first ever Test turned into a virtual nightmare because of their lack of experience in the longest format and were bowled out for 109 and 103 in pursuit of India’s first innings total of 474 all out today.
Talking about the game, Ajinkya said, “This feels really special. It is always an honor to lead your country and we wanted to be ruthless. Guys like Shikhar (Dhawan) and (Murali Vijay) got those hundreds, (KL) Rahul chipped in and (Hardik) Pandya was magnificent at the end. It was important for all of us to stick to our basics, create some good habits.”
Rahane also had words of appreciation for Afghanistan despite their abject surrender in the match. He said, “But credit to Afghanistan, they were fantastic. From here on it is only upwards and onwards for them. Their seamers bowled really well, especially in the third session yesterday and I am sure they will go a long way against all opponents.”
In a rare gesture, Rahane later called up the entire Afghan team to take the victory photo with Team India and also handed over the trophy to the debutants in a bid to boost their morale. Dhawan, who smashed 107 off 96 balls to win the man-of-the-match award, said he is enjoying every bit of his batting at the moment.
Talking about his knock, Shikhar said, “I am really happy with the way I have been batting. It is good that we’ve finished the match early and will have a few days off to get fresh before we go to Ireland. It was a damp pitch, the ball, of course, was swinging and seaming a bit but I was clear in my mind that I wanted to play positive cricket. Things went my way and I was enjoying it as by the grace of God I became the first Indian to get a century inside a session.”
Dhawan also congratulated Afghanistan for its Test debut and said with time they will definitely improve in Test cricket in the same way they did in the limited overs. He said, “First of all I would like to congratulate Afghanistan for reaching this level. It’s only their first Test and they’ll keep getting better as they play more. I would also like to wish them Eid Mubarak; it is a big day for them. It is always a learning process and once they start winning they’ll do really well. Big names are already coming out of their country already and doing really well in world cricket.”
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai also agreed that the Test match was a big learning curve for his inexperienced squad.
Speaking about the same, he said, “First thanks to BCCI and the Afghan Cricket Board to give us this opportunity. We hadn’t played a Test match before this and we’ve learned a lot. In future when we play a match, we know now how to play against a full member nation like India. Yes, we were surprised by how quickly things ended because we were a good team. But Test cricket is a completely different ball game, we have a lot of time and we’ll work on our weaknesses.”