Mayank Agarwal scored a scintillating 215 on Day 2 of the first Test against South Africa as Team India extended their dominant position at Vizag. After Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 176, the Karnataka batsman took on the charge to help India to a formidable total. At the end of day’s play, the duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja had put India further in the driver’s seat, with three scalps combined.
Earlier, the duo of Rohit and Mayank continued their charge as they piled on 317 runs for the first wicket. It took 82 overs for South Africa to break the stand, but not before the Indians had notched up a number of records on the way. It was the highest partnership for any wicket in Tests against South Africa, and also the third highest opening stand of all-time by India.
However, the South Africans started the day well, with a number of opportunities early on. Vernon Philander got a few balls to keep low, which forced the experts to suggest that the track had already started spinning. Agarwal, who was batting at an overnight score of 81, looked iffy as he neared his maiden Test ton, and nearly ran out Rohit. Rohit too nicked behind in the first half hour, which Quinton de Kock was unable to grab.
Thereafter, though, it was all India as the openers took the game forward. They scored at nearly four runs an over in the first session, and took the attack to the rivals. The Proteas spinners erred in lines as well, and they were punished adequately, as Agarwal and Sharma countered the spin threat with reverse-sweeps and lofts.
South Africa took the new ball a couple of overs late after Agarwal got his maiden ton and Rohit crossed the 150-run mark. Soon after, the Mumbaikar was sent back, stumped in an attempt to step out of the crease and go for a big hit. The visitors got their second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara being castled by Philander. However, Virat Kohli and Agarwal steadied the ship, albeit temporarily, with a stand of 53. Senuran Muthusami got his first Test wicket when he sent back the Indian skipper, but their was no stopping the damage, as Ajinkya Rahane and Mayank then piled on 54.
Mayank scripted history as he became only the first opener since Virender Sehwag in 2009 to get a double ton in Tests. However, in an attempt to up the ante, India lost him for 215, with Rahane and Hanuma Vihari too following suit. India eventually declared at 502 for 7.
The Proteas openers had the tough task of surviving on a track that was aiding the spinners a fair bit, and Kohli did not hesitate in bringing Ashwin and Jadeja into the attack. The former got the ball to turn and often beat Aiden Markram’s edge. Theunis de Bruyn was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha, and Jadeja made it a day to remember as he went past nightwatchman Dane Piedt’s defence.
Brief Scores: India 502/7 decl (Mayank Agarwal 215, Rohit Sharma 176) lead South Africa39/3 (R Ashwin 2-9) by 463 runs.