© Getty Images
© Getty Images

India have won the toss and have elected to bat against Afghanistan at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. The Test marks the induction of Afghanistan, the 12th Test-playing nation, to the highest platform in cricket. India have decided to play all three openers — Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, and Murali Vijay. In other words, they have left out Karun Nair. Rahul will probably bat at four or five (probably the former, as five is skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s preferred position). India have also left out Kuldeep Yadav in favour of the extra fast bowler, which means Umesh Yadav (currently on 99 Test wickets) will play alongside Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya.

Afghanistan are fielding an expected side. The seam attack, Yamin Ahmadzai and Wafadar Momand, looks a bit thin, but the spinners, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi, supported by Rahmat Shah, will more than make up for that. The batting unit, led by Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, and Nabi, looks formidable.

There was a neat surprise at the pre-match ceremony, where Salim Durani, the only Afghanistan-born Test cricketer before today (he was born in Kabul), handed over a memento to Stanikzai.

India playing XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Afghanistan playing XI: Asghar Stanikzai (c), Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Nabi, Afsar Zazai (wk), Rashid Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar Momand, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.