Magnificent Mayank vs mediocre Bangladesh
After playing a gem of a knock, Mayank Agarwal walked back to the pavilion with some of the Bangladesh players patting him on the back. Imrul Kayes was also among them.
One wonders what Imrul said to Mayank, because he was the man who dropped the in-form India opener when he was on 32. Ideally, Mayank could have thanked the 32-year-old Bangladeshi
Mayank, armed with talent and temperament, made Bangladesh pay dearly for that let-off as India continued to pulverise the visitors in the first Test, here, at the Holkar Stadium.
Courtesy Mayank’s superlative 243, a knock adorned with 28 boundaries and eight maximums at a healthy strike rate of 73.63, and Ajinkya Rahane’s typically calm and composed 86, India waltzed their way to 493 for six at stumps on Day II with a first-innings lead that has already soared to 343.
At tea itself, India’s lead had exceeded Bangladesh’s first-innings total of 150. With Mayank batting on 156 then and Rahane on 82, India had already raced to 303 for three.
Rahane unfortunately missed out on a well-deserved hundred, but Mayank took little time to press on the accelerator and help India build on the lead.
The sixes flowed from his bat. In fact, he hit them with ridiculous ease. If spinners Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz gave the ball even a little bit of flight, Mayank would latch on to it.
The inside-out shot over extra cover that fetched him a glorious six off Taijul’s bowling was certainly a treat to watch.
Mayank’s first big landmarks – the century and the 150 – came after taking a two and a one. But later when Mehidy tossed one up, Mayank — on 196 then — charged down the track and launched the off-spinner over mid-wicket.
He didn’t have to look at anything else then. The ball had safely been deposited into the stands and in majestic style, Mayank reached his second Test double hundred inside eight Tests and that too, within a month. Only Vinod Kambli was faster in reaching the milestone (inside five Tests).
Credit goes to Rahane as well. India didn’t have the best possible start on Friday, losing Cheteshwar Pujara (54) and captain Virat Kohli early. Abu Jayed Rahi, the lone Bangladesh bowler who at least tried to pose a few problems for Indian batsmen, first had Pujara caught at gully and then trapped Kohli leg-before. Captain Kohli lasted just two balls as his counterpart Mominul Haque made the correct decision in taking the DRS after the leg-before appeal was turned down by the umpire.
India were then still 31 short of the Bangladesh total. Mayank’s presence of mind too benefited him when he decided to review after being adjudged leg-before off Mehidy’s bowling. He was on 82 then.
In the final session, it seemed as if India were on a run-plundering exhibition. Aided by Ravindra Jadeja (batting on 60), Mayank blazed away and even after his dismissal, India maintained the tempo.