India vs South Africa: Mayank Agarwal turns maiden Test century into 'double' delight
- Agarwal scored his maiden Test century off 204 balls and then converted it into a double ton on day two of the first Test
- He added 317 runs with opening partner Rohit Sharma, who fell after scoring 176
- Agarwal was finally dismissed for 215 off 371 balls just before the tea break
NEW DELHI: As the Vizag skies allowed uninterrupted play on the second day of the first Test between India and South Africa, opener Mayank Agarwal made the most of it -- first by hitting his maiden Test century and then converting it into a double.
Agarwal's first hundred came off 204 balls, and he upped his scoring rate for the second, which came about in 167 balls. He fell to part-timer Dean Elgar for 215 off 371 balls, including 23 fours and 6 sixes, just before the tea break.
That may not be the pace reminiscent of Virender Sehwag -- the man Agarwal endeavours to emulate as an opening batsman; but his first international century and that too in his first appearance in whites on home soil will always be special. To convert it into a double is a cherry on the top that not many have achieved.
Take a bow, Mayank Agarwal 🙌🙌 @Paytm #INDvSA https://t.co/ESHjPbXP1A— BCCI (@BCCI) 1570092527000
After Dilip Sardesai, Vinod Kambli and Karun Nair, Agarwal is only the fourth Indian batsman to convert his maiden Test hundred into a double century.
Agarwal was 84 not out overnight, having stitched a double-century opening stand with fellow centurion Rohit Sharma. The partnership finally ended at 317 when Rohit was dismissed for 176, making the duo only the third Indian opening pair to stitch together a 300-run partnership in Test cricket.
Before this maiden Test double, Agarwal had scored 304* for Karnataka in 2017 and 220 for India A against South Africa A in 2018 in first-class cricket.
Being prolific comes naturally to the 28-year-old Agarwal, right from his days in the Cooch Behar Trophy and stint for India Under-19, including being India's most prolific batsman in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup.
But Agarwal took time to come out of the shadow of being labelled a short-format batsman only, and the Karnataka man finally made his first-class debut in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy season.
Four Indian Premier League seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore, alongside Virat Kohli, saw Agarwal's batting receive further recognition.
But in many ways, the wait to make his international debut, which happened later than he would have personally anticipated, was perhaps a blessing in disguise. Mayank made the senior India team cut after a grind of 50-odd first-class games and playing more than six years of List A and T20 cricket in the domestic circuit. By then his skills were well-honed.
He made his international debut in the toughest of conditions in Australia in the Boxing Day Test last year, scoring an impressive half-century (76), followed by a solid 42 in the second innings.
"He (Mayank) is a versatile batsman. He always wanted to represent India and in any format. He is a guy - throw challenges to him, he will accept them with a smile,” Agarwal's childhood coach Muralidhar had told Timesofindia.com in an interview.
Mayank's ODI calling came during the World Cup earlier this year when he was added to the squad after Vijay Shankar was ruled out with a toe injury; however, he didn't get a chance to play.
"Honestly, there was a lot to learn from (the) Australia (tour) . It was a big opportunity for me. I wanted to perform and thankfully I did. I am happy that I scored well,” Mayank had said talking to Timesofindia.com before India's tour of West Indies earlier this year.
“I scored 70s in both the Tests (Melbourne and Sydney) and I would like to convert those 70s into 100s.”
But it wasn't a prolific outing for Agarwal in the Windies, scoring 80 runs, including one half-century, in two Tests.
With KL Rahul struggling at the top, Dhawan out of favour currently and Prithvi Shaw serving a ban, Agarwal has a great chance to cement his place. A double century, of course, is by far the best way to begin that process.
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