BANGALORE - This is it for Afghanistan. Their ten-year journey since beating Jersey in the WCL Division Five final has been studded with miracles and pinnacles: they've been in multiple world tournaments, completed historic victories, created potential icons of the game, and will probably have the the largest, most diverse fan base a team has ever had on Test debut. Not bad for a team that consists of players who used broken helicopters as dressing rooms not long ago.

But perhaps their biggest achievement is that not even the No. 1 Test team, playing at home, will take the newcomers lightly. Afghanistan have won more than they've lost in India. In limited-overs cricket, they've only lost five out of 18 matches across formats. While those numbers will mean little coming into a different format, what they signify is that at some point over five days, the conditions will be in their favour. And therein lies the danger for India, who have been more susceptible to spin in Tests lately than their traditional reputation would suggest.

Objectively, that is the only big problem India could come up against. They have a formidable batting line-up that is close to collapse-proof at home. With allrounders in Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, and further fortification of the middle order through Dinesh Karthik, the hosts won't be easy to breach. It's also likely that the pitch in Bengaluru will be suited to seam, given India's upcoming England tour, which is another factor that tilts this fixture heavily in their favour.

Objectivity is something Afghanistan have barely bothered about, though. This is their big moment. A first ton, a first five-for, a first draw - even a first win - are all things that may or may not come in Bengaluru. But, two days after Kevin Pietersen's cry for a more entertaining Test scene, Mohammad Shahzad will be screaming at fielders, jersey probably untucked by the second session, and Rashid Khan's googly will be more subtle than his sending-off of the victim. Asghar Stanikzai, who led Afghanistan to a World Cup Qualifier title days after an appendicitis surgery, will look more a warrior than ever in Test whites. And in the midst of all these certainties, the newbies will draw standing ovations from the home crowd on more than one occasion. It's going to be as good as a one-off Test can ever be.

On the eve of the Test, India had an optional training session that was attended by Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Karun Nair, Karthik and Pandya. Dhawan had a session with the physios and appeared to be going through a fitness test. This could mean one of Dhawan and Vijay in the starting XI, allowing a straightforward slotting-in of Nair to replace Kohli.

Mohammed Shami's exit from the squad might not mean too much for replacement Navdeep Saini, who has to beat an in-form Umesh Yadav to make it to the XI. Ahead of the game, Ishant Sharma looks the only fast bowler assured of a spot in a team that's likely to use two spinners and Pandya as a third seamer.

Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons said that while Shahzad's fitness could be trusted in 50-over games, Tests are a completely different proposition. Shahzad is likely to play as a specialist batsman with Afsar Zazai taking up wicketkeeping duties.

“India will not take Afghanistan  lightly,”India skipper Ajinkya Rahane said Wednesday. "We are not ging to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team... bowlers (are good)," he told reporters on the eve of the one-off Test.

"As a Test team we cannot take anyone for granted because cricket is a funny game. We want to go out there and be ruthless.

"We are going to focus on our strengths, our positives. We are not thinking about Afghanistan as well: yes, we respect them as our opponent but it´s important for us to go out there and give more than our 100 per cent," said the top-order batsman.

“India will not take Afghanistan lightly”, skipper Ajinkya Rahane said Wednesday. But Rahane, who is standing in as captain for Virat Kohli, said there was no room for complacency in cricket.

India (From): Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane(c), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini

Afghanistan (From): Mohammad Shahzad(w), Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Stanikzai(c), Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sayed Shirzad, Wafadar, Zahir Khan, Ihsanullah Janat, Amir Hamza, Afsar Zazai