Opener Mayank Agarwal scored his second Test century in consecutive matches as India finished the first day of the second Test against South Africa at 273/3 at the MCA International Stadium in Pune on Thursday. With this knock, he became the second Indian opener to achieve the feat after Virender Sehwag.
Winning the toss, Indian skipper Virat Kohli decided to bat first on what looked like a damp surface. However, South Africa had the first laugh as Kagiso Rabada dismissed in-form Rohit Sharma (14) in the 10th over with just 25 on the board.
India finish day one on 273/3 – it’s been a strong day for the hosts.
— ICC (@ICC) October 10, 2019
The Proteas bowlers looked vicious with the new ball and had the Indian batsmen on their toes. Cheteshwar Pujara, coming in at three, joined forces with Agarwal to steady the home team’s ship.
Both the batsmen successfully dealt with the initial scares of the new ball and settled in comfortably. With the shine of the red cherry gone, the likes of Rabada and Vernon Philander lost their venom as both the batsmen began opening their arms.
Post lunch, both, Agarwal and Pujara changed gears and accelerated the scoring rate. The duo completed a century-stand for the second wicket with Agarwal scoring his half-century.
Pujara, too, reached fifty but his party did not last long as he failed to read an incoming delivery and edged it to the first slip where the SA captain Faf du Plessis took a good low catch to send him packing for 58.
Losing his partner did not deter the spirit of Agarwal as he partnered his skipper to continue on his merry way in the last session of the day.
He reached his second consecutive three-figure mark before being a part of another 100-run partnership, this time with Kohli. However, Rabada struck again and got the edge of the centurion at 108 that was comfortably cupped by his skipper at the first slip.
The Indian captain, on the other hand, looked rock solid on his approach right from the beginning and held the fort from one end as vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane joined him in the middle.
Kohli had no problem finding the middle of the bat during his course of stay and scored a well-deserved fifty before finishing the day at 63. Rahane played the role of an able partner to score a patient 18 in his 70-ball innings during the twilight of the day’s play.
From the visitors’ point of view, the bowlers looked deadly with the new ball in hand but failed to capitalize on the bright start. Other than Rabada, who returned with the figure of 3/48, no other bowler, including spinners, threatened the batsmen as such.