India dominated the first day’s play in the first test against South Africa, with their opening batsmen putting on an unbeaten 202 for the first wicket, until rain brought an early end to play, with no further play possible after tea.
The long-awaited test series with South Africa got underway on time in Visakhaptatnam on Wednesday.
The Indian side showed one slight surprise, with Wriddiham Saha preferred to Risbabh Pant to keep wicket, mainly because of his superior glove work on turning pitches. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, prolific for India in one day internationals as an opener, was given his chance as an opener in test cricket, having been played primarily as a middle order batsman in his previous 27 tests.
India won the toss and chose to bat on what was a very good pitch, although cracks were expected to open up as the match wore on later.
From the outset, Rohit and Agarwal were immediately on top against a South African bowling attack that was struggling to make inroads, with Rohit, in particular, keen to seize the chance he had been given. From the outset they looked to get on top of the bowlers, with Rohit translating some of his one day form to the longer format of the game. He was particularly savage on the two spinners, Dane Piedt, and Keshav Maharaj, pouncing on any loose deliveries, or balls that were short of a length.
Beside him, Agarwal was happy to play second fiddle, although scarcely less aggressive when they the chance.
Rohit fully justified the selectors’ faith by going on to make his 3rd test century, whilst Agarwal reached his own personal best in test match cricket. When the afternoon session ended, Rohit was 115 not out, having struck 5 sixes and 12 fours whilst Agarwal was undefeated on 80, having struck 2 sixes and 11 fours of his own.
At tea everything seemed fit for a thrilling final session, but then the weather suddenly changed, the dark clouds suddenly rolled in, and the ground staff hastily covered the pitch as the rain began to fall. An hour later, with no sign of the rain relenting, play was abandoned for the day, with everybody hoping for better weather on the resumption on Thursday.
For South Africa it was largely a day to forget. They will know that they need to tighten-up in the bowling department and hope for a better day on Thursday.