Team India banked on a fine century from Mayank Agarwal to take honours from day one of the second Test against South Africa in Pune. The host was at 273 for three before bad light compelled the umpires to end the day’s play before the scheduled closure.
Virat Kohli won the toss and had no hesitation to bat first. Rohit Sharma, coming on the back of twin tons, didn’t make it three-in-three. However, he did a decent job in seeing off the new ball on a pitch which aided the new ball bowlers.
Post that, Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara were involved in a century stand. The latter was dropped (tough chance) on 0 and went onto register a fifty. But, his innings came to a premature end, when he nicked one off Kagiso Rabada to wide slip just before tea.
Mayank eventually reached his second Test century after tea but couldn’t convert it into a daddy hundred as he did in Visakhapatnam. Rabada induced another edge to remove Mayank Agarwal to pocket all the three wickets that fell. At 198 for three, Ajinkya Rahane joined skipper Virat Kohli who ensured their team went to stumps unscathed.
Speaking at the end of the day’s play, the Karnataka batsman, who put two back to back centuries, seemed extremely elated with his performance. Mayank has proved that he is here to stay and will not give away the opportunity easily.
“Very happy that I could get back-to-back hundreds, that’s a good feeling. The team is in a good position, winning the toss, batting first and with one batsman short, it’s a good thing to make runs. There were periods when runs weren’t coming easily, they bowled good spells, tight spells and didn’t let us score,” Mayank said.
Meanwhile, success has not come to Mayank Agarwal easily and he had to work hard to turn his dream into reality. There was a time when Mayank was about to lose his place after consecutive poor returns but held on to it simply because of his mental discipline.
“Plenty of long-distance running, meditation and working on my game (on his approach towards batting), some of the things I could so, some I couldn’t, it was always about mental discipline,” he added.
In conclusion, Mayank Agarwal predicted that anything between 400 and 500 in the first innings will be a good total to put South Africa under pressure. India will hope to put a big total on day two and then bowl out the visitors for a low total to take an early grip in the game.
“400-500 should be a good score to put pressure on South Africa, don’t know if we need to bat a second time,” he concluded.