Mayank Agarwal was batting on 87 when and was nearing his second Test century on day 1 of the second Test. Any batsman would have taken his time to go into the 90s and then score a century but Mayank hit two sixes to jump to the score of 99 and then completed his century with a boundary which is quite rare, especially in Test cricket.
Commenting on Mayank’s fearless attitude while batting, India number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said that Mayank’s experience helped him a lot. “He (Agarwal) is an experienced player, who has scored so many first-class runs, which has helped him a lot. And when it comes to being nervous in his 90s, he is someone who is fearless,” he said.
At the toss, India captain Virat Kohli took a surprising decision as all three players viz Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami were included in the playing XI while Hanuma Vihari, who had scored a century two Tests back, was dropped.
Answering a question on this decision, Pujara said that a team needs five bowlers to take 20 wickets on this flat wicket, the reason behind Umesh’s addition to the side. “You have to just back your instincts. If we have five bowlers on a flat pitch, you can pick 20 wickets but if you go with 4 bowlers, it becomes difficult, if there is not much assistance. Luckily there is assistance for fast bowlers and Umesh playing this game,” he said.
India, after winning the toss, opted to bat. South African pacers tested the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Mayank. Kagiso Rabada got Rohit on the final ball of the 10th over. Pujara and Mayank added 138 runs for the second wicket.
Rabada provided another breakthrough to South Africa by getting Pujara caught at slips. 10 overs later, he also got Mayank, who scored 108 off 195.
India finished the day 1 at 273/3 from 85.1 overs as the bad light marked an early end to the day. Overnight batsman Virat Kohli (63* off 105) and Ajinkya Rahane (18* off 70) will hope to add more runs to their partnership and help India put up a big total in the first innings.