At the toss, Virat Kohli hinted that day two in Indore is the best time for batting in a Test match. Although, he missed out on the opportunity himself by bagging the 10th duck of his Test career but Mayank Agarwal, playing only the eighth Test of his career, justified the words of his skipper.
Mayank made sure Bangladesh pay heavily for dropping his catch in the final few minutes of day 1. Imrul Kayes had spilled a straight-forward chance at first slip when the Karnataka batsman was on 32. Mayank added to Kayes’ agony by piling 243 runs off 330 balls collecting 28 fours and a record-levelling eight sixes in his innings.
The most impressive aspect of his knock was the maturity with which Mayank went about his business. He negotiated the threat of the first hour of the morning session, the only period which saw Bangladesh leaving any impact in the game when Abu Jayed removed Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in a space of seven deliveries.
He teamed up with Ajinkya Rahane and both the batsmen minimalized Bangladesh’s chances to make further inroads. In fact, they made batting looked fairly easy in comparison with the first hour of play. The two batsmen remained unseparated till tea by when India’s batting card read 303 for three from 119 for three at the point of Kohli’s dismissal. The home side was leading by 153 runs. The only hiccup on the way was when Mayank was adjudged lbw before lunch by umpire Marais Erasmus off a benign delivery from Mehidy Hasan.
Mayank was appalled but still waited to have a chat with his batting partner who agreed with him sending the decision upstairs. Explaining Mayank’s gaze at Erasmus, hawk-eye suggested the ball was going down the leg side overturning the on-field decision.
Rahane on the other end batted flawlessly ensuring that the limelight is shared between the two as long as he was in the middle. The vice-captain looked in sublime touch accumulating nine boundaries with pristine timing. When Mayank reached his hundred, Rahane seemed set to follow him until he attempted a cut shot, once again brilliantly timed but straight to Taijul Islam at deep point to be dismissed on 86.
Mayank, batting on 158 at this point, was toying with the Bangladeshi bowlers, particularly the spinners. Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan, two of Bangladesh’s most prolific spinners in the Asian conditions were taken apart by the 28-year old.
The key to Mayank’s dominance over the spinners was his footwork. He was excellent on the backfoot collecting three boundaries off late cut and five from the pull shot but appeared lethal whenever he charged down the track. The right-hander danced down the track on 10 occasions scoring two fours and seven sixes putting up a masterclass on how to boss spinners.
Earlier when he completed his 150, Kohli signalled he wants him to carry on to score a double hundred. Mayank did it with another six, just like he completed his double hundred in Visakhapatnam which was only three Tests ago, and pointed two fingers towards his captain saying he has done his job. Kohli put up three fingers in reply leading to the most endearing moment of the day.
Mayank eventually got out in search of the record-breaking ninth six in his innings. The slog-sweep did not prove to be a decent option for the man who had struck eight sixes with a straight bat. The splendid show from Mayank had taken India’s lead to 282. He walked back amongst congratulatory handshakes from the Bangladeshi players and huge chants of his name from the Indore crowd.
Amidst Mayank’s madness, Ravindra Jadeja also collected another Test fifty, his fifth in the calendar year. Umesh Yadav’s introduction in the last half an hour saw India catapult their lead to 343 before the close of play.