Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - 'Grit and determination' helps Mayank prevail after Kanpur failure. Mayank Agarwal remained unbeaten on 120 at stumps on day 1.
Mayank Agarwal remained unbeaten on 120 at stumps on day 1.
Mayank Agarwal, the Indian opener, admitted that there was a conscious decision to attack New Zealand's left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel enroute his fourth Test century on day 1 of the Mumbai Test, on Friday (December 3).
Toss was delayed on the first day due to wet outfield. And, once play resumed, there was early assistance for the swing bowlers as well as the spinners. India got off to a strong start courtesy an 80-run stand between Mayank and Shubhman Gill, but once the latter departed six short of a half-century, the hosts suffered a brief collapse.
Ajaz, who had Gill caught at slip, also accounted for the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in quick succession – dismissing the veteran duo for ducks, and reducing India to 80 for 3.
However, Mayank helped India claw their way back courtesy two fighting stands – in company of Shreyas Iyer and Wriddhiman Saha, as the hosts went to stumps at 221 for 4 on the rain-marred day. Ajaz, who bowled considerably slower than the pace he was operating at in Kanpur, returned with a fourth wicket, when he had Shreyas caught behind later in the day, accounting for all the wickets the visitors picked on the opening day.
“It was a plan (to attack Ajaz) because I thought he bowled exceedingly well today… kept bowling in a cluster and kept putting pressure,” Mayank admitted at the end of day's play. “So anything that was there in our half, the plan was to be attacking. Anything that came little towards us in length, I was definitely looking to go. Because he is somebody who is really really consistent.
“He had that pace where he had tied us down. If we had let him bowl the way he did, he probably would have ended up with more wickets. So it was a conscious decision that if we get a scoring opportunity, we need to make it count.”
Mayank, who had disappointing returns in both the innings of the first Test, returned unbeaten on 120 at the end of the day. The opener admitted that he was cautious about his approach of playing at balls outside the offstump following the twin failure in the previous Test.
“That is something that I have thought about. But like I said, this innings was more about grit and determination. Sticking to our plan, just having the mental discipline to be at the plan, to be at it. I know there were times that I didn't look good, but it didn't make much of a difference as long as the job was getting done.”
He also shed light into the conversation he had with Sunil Gavaskar on how to approach the innings. “Sunny sir told me that it would be better if I keep the bat down instead of picking it too high early on (in the innings). I couldn't really make that adjustment in the short period. But while he was telling me that, I could see his position, which was side on. So, being side on was something I picked up from that conversation.”
With the second day expected to be easier for batting, given traditional conditions at Wankhede, Mayank believes the key for the team will be to start off well in the first session, where the seamers could pose a threat.
“It is going to be important how we start tomorrow morning. The first session is going to be crucial and the focus is that, if we can bat well in the first session then we'll try to pile on as many as we can. I think the wicket is going to get harder and harder to bat on, so we want to get as many as we can,” he concluded.