Big haul by burly Rahkeem Cornwall
It was left to the bulkiest cricketer at 140 kgs, Rahkeem Cornwall to produce a superlative effort in only his second Test to give his team a head start
Lucknow: It was a brave decision by West Indies captain Jason Holder to opt to the field on a pitch which is likely to aid spinners as the match progresses. Under the circumstances, West Indies required to get rid of Afghanistan at the earliest on the opening day of the one-off Test at the Ekana Stadium here on Wednesday.
It was left to the bulkiest cricketer at 140 kgs, Rahkeem Cornwall to produce a superlative effort in only his second Test to give his team a head start. The heavyweight off-spinner produced his best of 7-75 as Afghanistan managed only 187. In the remaining time, West Indies had done well for themselves by closing the day at 68-2.
West Indies are playing with three spinners in Cornwall, Jomel Warrican and Roston Chase. Thus, one would have thought they would have happily elected to bat, as batting in the fourth innings is going to be a great challenge. As things stand, West Indies, having begun well, need to get a big lead and then hope to get the Afghans out early a second time around and hopefully get a smallish target to chase later in the match.
The day undoubtedly belonged to Cornwall who bowls his off-spin taking just five gingerly steps. But the nip he generates from the pitch makes it very discomforting for the batsmen. No wonder he proved handful for the Afghan batsmen as hardly anyone played him with confidence. Only three batsmen got into the 30s, Javed Ahmadi (39), Afsar Zazai (32) and Amir Hamza (34).
Afghanistan’s two spinners skipper Rashid Khan and debutante left-armer Amir Hamza got a wicket apiece, but John Cambell (30) and Shamrah Brooks (19) ensured no further damage. While West Indies will hope to gain as big a lead as possible, Afghanistan will be aiming to keep it to the minimum to stay in the match.
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