Mayank Agarwal on Friday became only the second Indian opener to survive the first session of a Test match in New Zealand, emulating a feat which was first achieved by Manoj Prabhakar in 1990.
Agarwal battled through the first session of the ongoing first Test against the Black Caps in Wellington as India reached the lunch break at 79 for 3. Agarwal was unbeaten on 29 with vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (19 not out) giving him good support from the other end.
30 years ago, Manoj Prabhakar had managed to achieve the same in the 2nd Test in Napier against New Zealand, scoring 95 off 268 balls in India’s first innings total of 358 for 9 declared. The match ended in a draw with the hosts scoring 178 for 1 in reply to India’s score with the first and last day’s play getting washed out.
Agarwal meanwhile, was the only Indian batsman who managed to weather the storm and see-off the spells from the Kiwi pacers after Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson had the visitors reeling at 40 for 3 in 17.5 overs.
Southee got rid of Agarwal’s opener partner Prithvi Shaw for 16 in the 5th over after which Jamieson stunned the visitors by removing the experienced duo of Cheteshwar Pujara (11) and captain Virat Kohli (2) within 10 deliveries to bag his first-two wickets in Test cricket.
Agarwal and Rahane then joined forces and batted sensibly to ensure that there were no more casualties for India in the first session. The duo added 39 off 61 balls before the first break.
India though, have a lot of depth in their batting lineup after they opted to go with Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin at No. 7 and 8 respectively.
Earlier, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson had no hesitation in opting to bowl first in overcast conditions, on a green-top wicket at the Basin Reserve.