Afghanistan enter the Test high on confidence after defeating Bangladesh 3-0 in the recently concluded T20 series in Dehradun. Star spinner Rashid Khan picked up eight wickets in three matches and defended eight runs in the last over of the final game to be in the perfect frame of mind coming into the Test.
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai had raised the stakes by claiming his team have better spinners than India. Rashid and Mujeeb ur Rahman will be the main threat to an Indian team without regular captain Virat Kohli and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
The Afghanistan board and players posted images on social media after arriving in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.
The Afghans will take on India in Bengaluru from June 14 and they are confident of giving Indian batsmen a tough time as they have in-form spinners in Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman who were on fire during the recently concluded IPL.
For the record, India spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin are ranked fourth and fifth in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers.
“The whole world knows that we have good spinners in Rashid Khan, Mujeeb, Mohammad Nabi, Rahmat Shah, Zahir Khan,” Stanikzai was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “In Afghanistan, the brilliant thing is that a lot of the young talent that is coming through are spinners, because they all follow Rashid, they follow Nabi. So because of that our spin department is very strong. In my opinion, we have good spinners, better spinners than India.”
India will be without regular captain Virat Kohli, who is out due to a back injury, and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha who has a finger injury.
Needing 146 to win, the visitors required nine runs in the 20th over but the batsmen could not manage a way past Rashid as they reached 144-6.
Mushfiqur Rahim (46) and Mahmudullah Riyad (45) put together a 84-run fifth-wicket partnership to give Bangladesh hope.
Mushfiqur hit five fours in the penultimate over but fell to Khan’s leg spin on the first delivery of the final over. His team-mate Mahmudullah tried to hit four runs but was denied by Shafiqullah Shafiq’s acrobatic work to get run out.
Earlier, Samiullah Shenwari made an unbeaten 33 to lift his side to 145-6 for Afghanistan after they elected to bat first.
The ‘hosts’ were in trouble at 101-4 but Shenwari’s 28-ball knock saw them reach a competitive total.