The Indian opener frustrates the lethal South African attack with gritty ton to put India on top
Pune: Mayank Agarwal continued his fine form notching up his hundred as India finished Day 1 of the second Test against South Africa at 273 for three in 85.1 overs when the umpires called the day’s play due to bad light, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s stadium in Ghaunje here on Thursday.
When the stumps were drawn, skipper Virat Kohli was on 63 and giving him company was his deputy Ajankya Rahane on 14 as the pair added 75 runs for the wicket.
Chetashar Pujara (58), skipper (63) and hundred by Agarwal (108) saw India make the most of the day and finish the day on a positive note.
The day belonged to the Bangalore opener Agarwal, who made up for the shaky start to score his second century in Test cricket with a well polished 108. He was also involved in a 138 runs partnership with C Pujara.
Using his feet well to the bowlers, Agarwal notched up his second century after his magnificent double hundred in Vizag, with 16 fours and two sixes for his 108 before he was caught by du Plessis in the first slip for Rabada to emerge as the only successful bowler with all the three wickets under his belt.
Agarwal has an average of 64.89 in his six Test matches and has 605 runs in his kitty off the 11 innings he has played so far. He made his debut against the Australians last year.
Agarwal who is nicked named as Monkus raced to his second fifty of the series off 114 which were laced with tens hits to the fence.
Agarwal and Pujara built on the innings after they had lost Rohit Sharma in the tenth over of the innings with just 25 runs on board. The duo though were not comfortable against Vernon Philander and Rabada made up for the slow start and executed some fine shots all around the wicket. And Pujara looked solid with Agarwal playing the second fiddle, as they added 138 runs for the second wicket.
Agarwal took the liking to debutant Anrich Nortje and never let him settle punching him for three consecutive fours in his third over. This opened the gates for Agarwal as he raced to his 50 off 112 deliveries which included ten hits to the fence.
Pujara soon followed his partner notching up his 23rd fifty with eight fours and one six. But did not last long as he nicked Rabada for skipper du Plessis to take an excellent catch in the first slip. Pujara was lucky to have been let off by Temba Bruyn at the back forward short leg off Rabada before he could even open his innings.
Earlier, Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat. The teams brought about a change to their respective sides. Dane Piedt made way for seamer Anrich Nortje who made his debut in the South African side while Hanuma Vihari was rested for Umesh Yadav.
South Africa failed to take advantage after being put to field. Vernon Philander and Rabada made the ball move which kept the Indian openers in check.
The fourth delivery almost had Rohit caught at the gully but the ball did not carry to the Faf du Plessis. And the very next delivery had the Rohit beaten and a loud appeal for leg before which was followed by review which went in vain for South Africa. But for these anxious moments there was very little the Proteas attack to cheer about.