Mayank Agarwal notched his second Test century – and his second in consecutive games – to help India take a commanding position on the first day of the second Test against South Africa at Pune.
Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first, but, whereas in Visag Rohit Sharma and Agarwal put on a triple-century stand for the first wicket, here they were separated inside 10 overs, Rohit nicking off to a jaffa from Kagiso Rabada – the first time he has fallen before making a century this series.
Agarwal, however, looked to be carrying on in the same vein as he left off, having turned his maiden century into a mammoth 215 in the first Test, and found a willing ally in Cheteshwar Pujara, with the pair putting on 141 for the second wicket.
Once more, it was Rabada who made the breakthroughs, nicking off both set batsmen soon after they had reached landmarks – Pujara for 58, and Agarwal for 108.
At 198/3, India were in a strong position, but not yet an impregnable one, but Virat Kohli’s imperious 63* took them into a position of dominance. Ajinkya Rahane stuck around in a stand of 75 runs, and by the time bad light brought about an early stumps, India had reached 273/3.
Rabada, as he so often is, was far and away the pick of the bowlers, finishing with stellar figures of 3/48 from 18.1 overs, while Vernon Philander was his usual parsimonious self, his 17 overs costing just 37 runs. But elsewhere, South Africa struggled to maintain control. Debutant Anrich Nortje, playing in off-spinner Dane Piedt’s place as the Proteas opted for another quick bowling option, leaked 60 runs in his 13 overs, while Keshav Maharaj conceded a tick over three runs an over.
It will take a stirring performance to prevent India from establishing an impregnable position in the match and the series.
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