Afghanistan registered their second Test win at Chattogram against Bangladesh in a one-off Test match.
India and Afghanistan are at opposite ends of the spectrum in cricket. While India established itself as a cricket-playing nation nearly 90 years ago, Afghanistan’s entry is a fairy tale one that began extremely late and surged so fast that they were a Test-playing nation in no time, jumping the pecking order over some competitive associate teams.
With matches in Afghanistan impossible due to security concerns, India were kind enough to lend the neighbours a home and Afghanistan played their first-ever Test match against India last year. The newbies were thrashed by India in the one-off Test match but being a new nation in the long format circuit, it was expected.
Few teams have adapted to Test cricket very quickly and Afghanistan’s loss was kind of a given. Then against Ireland in their next Test match – the opposition being newcomers like Afghanistan – Afghanistan created history by winning their first-ever Test match. But very little was made of the win as they had beaten a team that had arrived alongside them.
Before the third match Afghanistan played in Bangladesh, they changed their skipper and anointed Rashid Khan as the new captain. Mohammad Nabi, a very experienced campaigner, announced that the match would be his last. Bangladesh at home are no pushovers either. They had beaten England, West Indies and Australia in recent times and Afghanistan seemed like a cakewalk for them.
On a turning wicket, Bangladesh fielded an all-spin attack but the move floundered as Afghanistan’s spin quartet befuddled the Bangladeshi batsmen on a flat Chattogram wicket. In no time, Afghanistan now has more Test wins than losses. They had registered their second Test win in their third game and their first away win as well.
To understand why this is such a big deal it is important we see how teams have adapted to Test cricket previously.
To put Afghanistan’s feat into perspective, India played their debut Test in 1932 and won their first game in 1952, 20 years later. The second win also came the same year. On the other hand, Sri Lanka played their first game in 1982 and won in 1985. It took them one more year to register another Test win. Pakistan meanwhile debuted in 1952 and won their second Test match in 1954. A glance at the whole list of teams playing their debut game and registering their first win makes for interesting reading.
Test Debut Year
Year of First Test Win
Yet to win
Afghanistan took just one year to register their first Test win and incidentally registered their second win as well in the same year by beating Bangladesh. No other Asian team has won two Test matches in quicker time, signifying how quick the country has progressed as a cricketing nation. Though they aren’t part of the World Test Championship, Afghanistan have beaten a team who is part of the bigger circle and it would go down as a historic moment in the team’s cricketing journey.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Money Sharma