India reached 91/0 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against South Africa on the back of a half-century from India’s newest Test opener Rohit Sharma. Rohit brought up his 11th Test fifty, aided by an equally solid and patient start from Mayank Agarwal as South Africa were made to sweat after Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat at Visakhapatnam.
On a surface that appeared slow and low initially, India started steadily with Rohit and Agarwal seeing off the new ball. Rohit got off the mark with a boundary off the second delivery he faced, cutting the ball past gully before he and Agarwal settled for a more cautious approach against the moving ball.
The movement off the surface extracted by Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander beat the openers outside off and although South Africa induced a few close calls, Rohit and Agarwal carried on. South Africa introduced Keshav Maharaj, the first of the three spinners they included in the line-up, and when he was joined by fellow offspinner Dane Piedt, the boundaries began coming more frequently.
After seeing off the first one hour, Rohit smacked the first six of the innings, coming down to Maharaj and clearing long-on. Five overs later, Piedt got the stick, a six that sailed into the second tier. Agarwal gained confidence from Rohit and lifted the offspinner down the ground. Rohit was 19 off 45 before accelerating and brought up his 50th run off 84 deliveries with a sweep that just about cleared the short-fine leg fielder for a boundary.
A positive stat for India were the control rates of Rohit and Mayank – dominating at 72 and 75 percent respectively. Once the initial movement died, the openers took control making it a session for India. Rabada’s first spell read 6-3-14-0. Besides Piedt and Maharaj, debutant Senuran Muthuswamy bowled just two overs before the teams broke off for lunch.
Brief Scores: India 91/0 (Rohit Sharma 52*, Mayank Agarwal 39*) vs South Africa