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Cornwall strikes to put Windies on top in Afghanistan Test

Thu, Nov 28, 2019 – Page 16 


West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall yesterday took a career-best 7-75 in only his second Test match to help bowl out Afghanistan for 187 as spinners dominated the first day of the one-off Test.

The stocky 26-year-old engineered Afghanistan’s top-order collapse by taking five wickets in his lengthy first spell of 21 overs. He snared two more wickets after a brief break, which somewhat bailed out captain Jason Holder’s decision to bowl first on a turning wicket in Lucknow.

The West Indies also had early trouble and reached 68-2 at stumps, with both wickets falling to Afghanistan spinners. They trail by 119 runs, with John Campbell 30 not out and Shamarh Brooks unbeaten on 19.

Out-of-form opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite (11) fell LBW to debutant left-arm spinner Amir Hamza and Shai Hope (7) got a thick edge to slip off leg-spinner Rashid Khan’s sharp delivery as spinners took 10 of the 12 wickets.

Afghanistan’s batsmen had early success against seamer Kemar Roach, who did not hit the right lengths in hazy conditions.

However, Cornwall struck a crucial blow just before lunch when he had Ihsanullah (24) caught in the lone slip as Afghanistan slumped to 90-3 after moving comfortably to 84-1.

Afghanistan slid further to 111-7 with Cornwall running through the middle order and taking a low ankle-height catch in the slip to dismiss Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan (1).

Zazai and Hamza added 54 runs for the eighth-wicket stand before Cornwall further dented Afghanistan by taking the wicket of Zazai, who did not offer a shot to a ball that did not spin enough.

Holder was rewarded for his disciplined 17 overs when he had Hamza edged to the wicketkeeper and finished with 2-22 as Cornwall wrapped up the innings by having Yamin Ahmadzai (18) caught at the long-off boundary.

Earlier, Cornwall made most of the conditions to have Ibrahim Zadran (17) caught close to the wicket in his third over as the wicket started to look favorable for spinners.

Zadran was shaping up well with two cover-driven boundaries before he went for an extravagant sweep-shot against Cornwall and Holder snapped a brilliant one-handed diving catch to his left at leg-slip.

Cornwall could have had the wicket of Javed Ahmadi (39), but wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich could not hold on to a sharp leg-side catch off the batsman’s gloves.

Afghanistan are chasing the rare record of becoming the first nation to win three of their first four Test matches.

They lost against India inside two days in their inaugural Test, but then went on to beat Ireland and Bangladesh in their next two Tests.

Afghanistan awarded a Test debut to batsman Nasir Jamal, who fell for 4 to Cornwall, and surprisingly left out all-rounder Karim Janat, who played a vital role in Afghanistan’s victory in the Twenty20 series against the West indies.

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