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India vs South Africa | Mayank Agarwal Double-Ton, Ashwin Give India Advantage

After Rohit Sharma scored his fourth Test century and first as an opener on the first day, it was Agarwal’s turn to first match him and then better that effort

Cricketnext Staff |October 4, 2019, 7:27 AM IST
India vs South Africa | Mayank Agarwal Double-Ton, Ashwin Give India Advantage

After Rohit Sharma scored his fourth Test century and first as an opener on the first day, it was Mayank Agarwal’s turn to first match him and then better that effort by converting his maiden Test ton into a strokeful double hundred, propelling India’s total to 502 for 7 before Virat Kohli waved out to Ravindra Jadeja (30*) and R Ashwin (1*) half-way through the final session on the second day in Visakhapatnam.

Kohli was aware South Africa would be tired after two days in the field and that could help snare at least a wicket if nothing else. Right on cue Ashwin and Jadeja stepped up and the visitors were pegged back earlier than they would have liked as they lost three wickets including Aiden Markram, who has scored a bagful of runs in the subcontinent recently. The visitors, at stumps on the second day, were 39 for 3 - 463 runs behind with seven wickets in hand.

India began the day at 202/0, with Rohit on 115* and Agarwal on 84*. Soon enough the duo crossed 218, to register the biggest opening stand against South Africa surpassing Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag’s efforts from 2004 in Kanpur.

Vernon Philander continued to be a cause of concern 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. Rohit went onto add another 51 runs to his score from then on.

At the other end Agarwal completed his century without much ado, after which he went through the gears and started accelerating and clubbed Dane Piedt towards the cow corner for a massive six.

None of the visiting spinners were having any joy, although Keshav Maharaj did manage to find the breakthrough eventually when he had Rohit (176) stumped just before lunch.

After lunch, Philander struck first ball when he surprised Cheteshwar Pujara (6) and sent his off stump for a walk, giving the visitors some hope of a fight back.

Kohli walked in and got off the mark with a crisp drive back past the bowler for a boundary, while Agarwal continued to find the boundary with relative ease. The hopes of fightback were diminishing fast before a leading edge from Kohli presented Senuran Muthusamy with an easy caught and bowled for his first Test wicket.

The focus of the Indian batsmen post lunch was to up the ante and score as many as possible before the already struggling South Africa came out to bat.

Agarwal, in the process of going through the gears, took a special liking to the two left arm spinners and did not hesitate to step out and hammer them down the ground, over the cover region and into the cow corner as well.

Ajinkya Rahane (15) though could not do much and gave Maharaj his second wicket.

Soon after Rahane departed, Agarwal followed suit for 215 while attempting a big hit against Dean Elgar. Agarwal, who had smashed 23 boundaries and six maximums, had scored a shade less than 50% of the runs in the innings till then.

Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari (10) and Saha then proceeded to add another 66 runs before India declared at 502/7 and asked a tired South Africa to bat out the last hour and a half.

South Africa had to dig deep to survive the final bit of the day and a lot would depend on Markram and Dean Elgar.

The duo, as expected seemed comfortable against the fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, but as soon as Kohli rung in the changes and brought the spinners on and placed a few close-in catchers around the batsmen, the nerves were clear to all.

Soon enough, Markram’s resistance broke as Ashwin fizzed it through the gap between bat and pad and cleaned him up for 5.

The spinners, Jadeja and Ashwin, continued to keep the batsmen under pressure, giving absolutely nothing away.

That eventually paid rich dividends as Ashwin struck again, taking de Bruyn’s outside edge and finding the gloves of Saha, who didn’t make any mistake in grasping a sharp chance in decreasing light.

A few deliveries later, Jadeja was too hot to handle for the night watchman Dane Piedt, who was castled for a duck. Jadeja could have had a second too a couple of deliveries later, but Vihari failed to hold onto a sharp chance from Temba Bavuma at forward short leg.

Ashwin and Jadeja had their tails up, but Bavuma (2*) and Elgar (27*) survived till stumps.

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3 India 3085 114
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2 India 5819 119
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