IND vs SA: Mayank Agarwal knows how to convert fifties into big scores, says Cheteshwar Pujara
Batting stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara hails opener Agarwal, who scored his second consecutive Test ton yesterday; says habit of big scores comes from his stellar FC career
Pune: For someone who smashed 1000 first-class runs in a month's domestic cricket in 2017, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a heavy duty scorer like Mayank Agarwal knows a thing or two about the art of conversion, feels Cheteshwar Pujara.
Kohli scores half ton
Agarwal, a relatively new entrant to the Test arena, has scored his second Test hundred in as many games against South Africa as India cruised to 273-3 on Day One of the second Test here yesterday. In the final session, skipper Virat Kohli (63 not out) was in his element, hitting yet another Test half-century and adding 75 for the unbroken fourth wicket partnership with Ajinkya Rahane (18 not out). Earlier, along with Pujara, Agarwal added 138 runs for the second wicket with minimum fuss, despite India losing Rohit Sharma's (14) wicket in the first hour itself.
"He [Agarwal] is an experienced player, who has scored so many first-class runs, which has helped him a lot. And when it comes to being nervous in his 90s, he is someone who is fearless," Pujara replied, when asked about the Karnataka opener showing little sign of nerves.
Pujara has seen a lot of Agarwal in the domestic arena and believes it is the consistent scores in domestic cricket that has made him what he is today. "Mayank knows how to convert fifties into big scores and at the same time, once he goes past hundred, he can score heavily as we saw in the last game," said Pujara.
Pujara himself is someone with a penchant for big knocks. So did he tell anything to Mayank while their partnership was on? "That habit [for big scores] has come from first-class cricket, so I didn't have to tell him much. To be honest, we were just communicating what their gameplan was."
Pujara ducks controversy
Meanwhile, pacer Kagiso Rabada did try to disturb Pujara's concentration, but tactic hardly bothered the senior India batsman. Rabada did say a few words to Pujara after dismissing him for 58, perhaps letting a bit of his frustration out as he was unlucky not to get him out on zero due to a dropped catch. Asked what exactly Rabada said, Pujara (left) replied: "I can't remember what he said. But he [Rabada] is someone who always likes to say something to the batsmen.
"As a batsman, I always know that he [Rabada] will try to disturb my concentration, not just him but any bowler, who passes a comment, so I try and avoid [listening to] what they say," said India's dependable No. 3. "If you are in your zone, you hardly hear what they are trying to say as you are too much focussed on what you want to do as batsman. So when you are in your own zone, you miss out what they are saying," Pujara said avoiding any controversy.
India 273-3 (M Agarwal 108,
V Kohli 63*, C Pujara 58;
K Rabada 3-48) v South Africa
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