Ind V SA – Tea Report: India on top as Mayank nears century

The duo rescued India put India in the driver seat after a shaky start. Source- BCCI Twitter

India dominate with the bat on relatively bowling friendly conditions in the second Test against South Africa.

After losing Rohit Sharma early to KG Rabada, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal ensured that India didn’t lose another wicket for a larger part of day one in the second Test against South Africa. Both the batsmen put on a 138 run partnership and made their half-centuries along the way. Right before the Tea break, Rabada was brought back into the attack. He pitched one right on the off-stump line, which swung enough to take the outside edge of Pujara and Faf completed the catch at first slip. Virat Kohli had just arrived at the crease, as India went into Tea break with 168-2 in 53 overs.

When du Plessis was asked which was worse – losing the toss in the first Test or today in Pune; he was quick to acknowledge that it was the first Test at Vizag. Pune has been receiving a fair amount of rain over the past few days and South Africa didn’t mind bowling first.

On a wicket which had a fair bit of bounce and carry unlike Vizag, both India and South Africa opted to play an extra seamer as their fifth bowler. Anrich Nortje was making his debut for South Africa, while Umesh Yadav came in for Hanuma Vihari in the Indian XI.

Vernon Philander and Rabada were pumped-up early on. Philander used the wobbling seam and bowled consistently in the corridor of uncertainty, while Rabada bent his back to generate that extra pace. Both the Indian openers found it difficult to play on the rise against them. They played and missed a number-of-deliveries. The edges either flew over the slip cordon or fell short of the fielders.

Kagiso Rabada took both the Indian wickets until Tea on Day one. Source- CSA Twitter

Rohit, whose technique is susceptible against the moving ball, edged a good length delivery from Rabada to the keeper. After scoring 303 runs in the first match, he got out for 14 in this innings. Debutant Nortje announced his arrival in the eleventh over with a quick short ball that hit Mayank on the helmet. Nortje and Rabada were bowling quick in tandem and they were hitting the 140 Kmph mark consistently.

However, the debutant wasn’t consistent with his lengths and Mayank was quick to pounce on anything that was pitched too full or short. In the 14th over, Mayank used his hands extensively, transferred his weight on to the front foot, punched Nortje down the ground and through the covers for back to back boundaries.

Mayank pulls Rabada for a boundary through Square-leg. Source- BCCI Twitter

When the spinners came on, Mayank and Pujara had a different approach to counter them. Pujara used his feet to come down the pitch, drive and flick graciously through the leg side. Mayank, on the other hand, used the depth of the crease to drive and cut through the offside. Both Mayank and Pujara play a cut shot off Maharaj through point to bring up their respective half-centuries.

The South African camp will be disappointed for not making the most out of a pitch, which had good support for their fast bowlers. Kagiso Rabada was the pick of the bowlers for them.  With Mayank nearing his second century, Faf du Plessis and Co. will be keen to take early wickets in the post-tea session.

Brief Scores at Tea- India – 168/2, Mayank Agarwal-86*, Cheteshwar Pujara-58; KG Rabada-13-1-39-2