India vs South Africa: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal end 24-innings wait for a century opening stand for India
Both Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal brought up their respective half-centuries to give a strong start to India after captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first against South Africa at VisakhapatnamUpdated: Oct 03, 2019 07:25 IST
India openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal ended a 24-innings wait for a hundred stand during the first Test match against South Africa on Wednesday. Mayank Agarwal hit a boundary to bring India’s 100 up in the post-lunch session on Day 1 of the first Test. This was India’s first 100+ opening stand after 24 innings. The last 100-run opening partnership for India was back in 2018 when Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay had put on 165 in the one-off Test against Afghanistan.
Both Rohit and Mayank brought up their respective half-centuries to give a strong start after captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. Virat Kohli termed the decision a “no brainer.” Expecting the pitch to turn, South Africa picked three spinners in Keshav Maharaj, Dane Piedt and debutant Senuran Muthusamy who is more of a batting all-rounder.
All eyes were expectedly on Rohit whose stop-start Test career has taken a new direction with the management accommodating him at the top of the order.
He left the first ball he faced before driving Kagido Rabada past backward point with minimal feet movement for a four. His second scoring shot was also a boundary as he punched Vernon Philander towards backward point. The pitch offered very little to the pacers and spinners in the first two hours of play.
What worked for Rohit was standing outside the crease when Philander was bowling to negate any little swing that was available.
Rabada has the express pace but he did not the test Indian openers as much as Philander.
Rohit and Philander’s battle in the first hour was absorbing. Philander, who got the better of Rohit in the warm-up game, challenged Rohit by moving the ball both ways in his opening spell of four overs. After a few play and misses, Rohit chose to walk down the pitch before South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis asked wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to stand up to the stumps. India reached 37 for 0 in 15 overs with Rohit and Agawal looking solid in the middle.
After getting the measure of the surface, Rohit went for his strokes like he does in white-ball cricket. His first big hit was a typical one as he gently stepped out of the crease to smash Maharaj over long-on. A little later, he played a similar short off Piedt, only this time the ball flew well above the long-on fielder.
(With agency inputs)