Indians Remain Unscathed at the end of Day 1
Leher Reddy Challuri DP 1
On the 2nd of October in Visakhapatman, Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma starred for India as they ended the rain-affected day without a wicket lost.
The pair began the innings with some assertive shots. Sharma, playing his first test match as an opener, looked particularly impressive, defending well against the seamers and taking the attack to the spinners. Agarwal was lucky to have an edge evade the slip fielders, but looked good ever since. Off the front foot and back foot, the pair played marvellous shots along the ground and went arial comprehensively, especially Sharma, who got to his fifty within the first session, albeit with a streaky shot as the ball wasn’t far away from backward square leg.
Soon after the second session commenced, Mayank Agarwal got to the 4th fifty of his short test career. Sensing the opportunity with the spinners in the attack, the pair went harder at the ball, with Sharma showing his prowess with big shots once again. He got to his hundred in quick time, and Agarwal accompanied him well throughout, who also neared his maiden ton as the second session came to a close. During the 60th over, play stopped due to rain, which never stopped, due to which play was called off for the rest of the day. India ended the day at 202-0 off 59.1 overs, with Agarwal 84* off 183 balls, hitting 11 fours and 2 sixes and Sharma 115* off 174 balls, hitting 12 fours and 5 sixes.
With virtually no swing and some deviation off the pitch, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander bowled well and kept the run rate at a minimum. The two recorded figures of 0-35 off 15 overs and 0-34 off 11.1 overs respectively. None of the spinners could turn the ball as they failed to get the seam to grip into the surface and turn. Instead, the ball landed on its shiny surface and skid onto the bat, making life comfortable for the batsmen.
Even Keshav Maharaj could not turn the ball on a subcontinent pitch, recording economical but unprofitable figures of 0-66 off 23 overs. Senuran Muthusamy, a part-time left-arm off spinner on debut, did not produce anything special either, recording figures of 0-23 off 5 overs. Dane Piedt, who found some success on his previous test tour to India, could not replicate it this time around and disappointed the most. He recorded expensive figures of 0-43 off 7 overs as Agarwal, and especially Sharma never let him settle.
What will day 2 have in stock for us? With South Africa pegged back a fair bit in the game, how will they respond? Will they pick up quick wickets and trigger an Indian collapse, or will India build on their foundation and put up a solid score? Join us tomorrow on the Sreenidhian to find out!