India vs South Africa: Faf du Plessis wins hearts with sportsmanship after Rohit Sharma’s dismissal
The South African bowlers may have been smashed to all parts of the ground by Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal but their captain Faf du Plessis won hearts with his great gesture on Day 2 of the first India vs South Africa Test match at Visakhpatnam on Thursday. Du Plessis, whose tactics and field placements drew criticism from the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Graeme Smith, got full marks for his sportsmanship.
Du Plessis was one of the firsts to walk up to Rohit Sharma after he was dismissed for a mammoth 176 at the stroke of lunch on day 2. Rohit was dismissed while trying to play a forward defensive push when left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj got one to grip and spin past his bat, drawing the India opener’s backfoot outside the crease. De Kock, behind the stumps was quick to gather the ball and whip the bails in a flash. The record 317-run opening stand was finally broken.
As Rohit started to walk back without even waiting for the third umpire’s call, du Plessis was seen walking up to Rohit and congratulating him for his brilliant innings.
Rohit, who hit 23 fours and half a dozen sixes, was dismissed in the 83rd over.At lunch India were 324 for one in 88 overs with Agarwal going strong at 138 off 270 balls. The hosts scored 122 runs in the session at 4.28 runs per over.Rohit and Agarwal, who resumed their innings at 115 and 84 respectively with India at 202 for no loss, did not take long to register India’s highest opening stand against South Africa, surpassing the 218 made by Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag at Kanpur in 2004.
A little later, when the duo crossed the 268-run mark, their stand became the highest against the Proteas for any wicket, surpassing Rahul Dravid and Sehwag’s effort in 2007-08.
Like on day one, pacer Vernon Philander created some discomfort for the batsmen in the opening hour but apart from that, it was smooth sailing for the home team.Rohit was dropped on 125 off Philander when keeper Quinton de Kock, who was standing up to the stumps, fumbled to take a sharp catch.
Two balls from Philander kept low, taking both Rohit and Agarwal by surprise but after that they toyed with the opposition attack.None of South Africa’s three spinners were impressive though Keshav Maharaj did have Rohit stumped towards the end of the session.Offie Dane Piedt was expensive again and debutant Senuran Muthusamy too failed to make an impact.
Rohit and Agarwal scored boundaries at will, especially against the spinners and with the surface not doing much, they also played the reverse sweep effectively.
After reaching the three-figure mark with a single, Agarwal stepped up the offensive. He dispatched Piedt for a massive six over deep midwicket before reverse sweeping him for a four in the same over.The Bengaluru-based cricketer, who is playing his first Test in India, collected 16 fours and three sixes.
The afternoon session has been extended by 30 minutes to make up for the overs lost on day one due to rain with a minimum of 98 overs to be bowled on Thursday.The final session on Wednesday was washed due to rain and thunderstorms.
(With agency inputs)