New Delhi (CNN)Only 11 nations have ever played at the top level of cricket — until today.
On Thursday morning, Afghanistan's cricket team made history when they stepped out on the pitch in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru to face India in their first competitive Test match.
The dramatic rise of Afghan cricket comes despite years of war, terrorism and economic hardships. Just last month, eight people were killed when a bomb exploded during a local cricket match in the city of Jalalabad.
Though cricket has been played in Afghanistan since the arrival of the British in the 19th century, it wasn't until the 1980s, after the outbreak of war with the Soviet Union, that the game really took hold.
As the Soviet troops advanced, hundreds of thousands of young Afghans fled into Pakistan, where they were introduced to the game while in refugee camps along the country's border.
Passion for the game quickly spread, both in the camps and beyond.
The national team was officially founded in 1995 and in the two decades since, Afghanistan has gone from among the world's lowest ranked teams to its top tier, qualifying for two cricket World Cups and three World T20s.
But it is with Thursday's match against India that the team enters the sport's highest pantheon of Test playing nations.
Test matches, which can last up to five days, are considered the purest form of the game, demonstratin