Centurion Mayank Agarwal makes it India's day
- Mayank underlined that most players don't suffer from the nervous 90s these days.
- Mayank hit left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for two straight sixes in the post-tea session to jump from 87 to 99.
- In the next over, Mayank dabbed seamer Vernon Philander between the first slip and fly gully for four.
Looking to seal the three-match series in the second Test against South Africa at Gahunje here, India were 273-3 on the first day on Thursday after winning the toss.
Rain was forecast, but didn't arrive. However, bad light stopped play with 4.5 overs remaining in the day's play.
Mayank (108, 195b, 16x4s, 2x6s) and Cheteshwar Pujara (58, 112b, 9x4s, 1x6) stitched an alliance of 138 runs in 41 overs for the second wicket and that set the foundation. The script could have been far different had Tenda Bavuma snared Pujara at short leg off Rabada when the batsman was yet to get off the mark and India were 35-1.
Mayank underlined that most players don't suffer from the nervous 90s these days. He hit left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj for two straight sixes in the post-tea session to jump from 87 to 99. In the next over, he dabbed seamer Vernon Philander between the first slip and fly gully for four.
It was Agarwal's second Test hundred in the series. He had scored a triple hundred against Maharashtra (304*) on the same ground in the Ranji Trophy season of 2017-18.
Mayank was more confident than circumspect while facing the South African bowlers. He hit nine fours off Nortje (six in the morning session) including two pull shots in one over when the pacer came around the wicket. Earlier, he had creamed four fours off him in a short span of time.
The first session saw attritional cricket and a good contest between the bat and ball. South Africa should have picked up more than one wicket in that phase. Instead, India took lunch at 77-1 with assurance that their decision to bat first wasn't a misadventure.
Both left-arm spinners - Keshav Maharaj and Senuran Muthusamy - were not allowed to settle down and they weren't good enough to rally. The new ball was taken after the 80th over.
Nortje bowled with enthusiasm but he overdid the short-pitched stuff and didn't test batsmen for a large part of the day.
With Virat Kohli (63) and Ajinkya Rahane (18) unbeaten at stumps, this Test is also heading towards India. Unless Friday's morning session gives the bowlers a major fillip.