The writing was on the wall. It took West Indies little more than an hour to seal a nine-wicket win over Afghanistan in an one-off Test at the Ekana Stadium on Friday.
Reeling from 109-7 overnight, Afghanistan tail-enders could only add 11 runs to its tally, before bundling out for a meagre 120 runs – setting a 31-run target for the West Indies.
Chasing a paltry total, the Caribbean batsmen – John Campbell and Shai Hope – guided the team home in just 6.2 overs.
Though debutant Hamza Hotak dismissed opener, Kraigg Brathwaite for eight, it did not matter much to the West Indies.
If Rahkeem Cornwall and Roston Chase troubled Afghanistan on the second day, it was captain Jason Holder, who furrowed the tail on the third day morning.
Rahkeem Cornwall (r) was the star performer for West Indies with his Test match haul of 10 wickets. – AFP
Taking advantage of the cloudy conditions – the floodlights had to be turned on to increase visibility – Holder claimed three wickets to ensure that Afghanistan could not bounce back.
With none of the lower-order batsmen showing resilience, Holder tightened the noose, stifling the Afghan batsmen.
Expectations were high from captain Rashid Khan, but he failed to deliver before being shown the door by Holder for just one.
Playing in its fourth Test, Afghanistan would have wanted to make its presence felt in its ‘new home base’, but with the players unable to execute the plans, it led to a meek surrender in just three days.
After its astonishing Test win against Bangladesh, a couple of months ago, one expected the side to put up a fight. But against a rather superior Caribbean side, Afghanistan players made it evident that they are still not ready to survive in the five-day format.
Since attaining Test status in 2017, Afghanistan has only played four Test matches so far. And after a dismal show at home, the team management has plenty to think about, as far as the longer format is concerned.
Afghanistan 187 &120 (Javed Ahmadi 62, Ibrahim Zadran 23, Raheem Cornwall 3/46) lost to West Indies 277 & 33/1 (John Campbell 19 not out) by nine wickets.
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