Agarwal hits 2nd straight ton, India 273-3 vs South Africa

CHETAN NARULA
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India South Africa Cricket

India's Rohit Sharma bats during the second cricket test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

PUNE, India (AP) — Mayank Agarwal hit his second consecutive hundred as India reached 273-3 at stumps against South Africa on the first day of the second test on Thursday.

Following his 215 in the first test, Agarwal was out for 108 as he steered India's first innings before bad light ended play with 4.5 overs remaining in the day. The opener faced 195 deliveries and hit 16 fours and two sixes.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane added 75 runs in an undefeated fourth-wicket partnership. Kohli is unbeaten on 63, Rahane is 18 not out.

Kohli won the toss and decided to bat. India reached lunch at 77-1, and went to tea on 168-2.

After tea, Agarwal hit Keshav Maharaj (0-89) for back-to-back sixes to reach the nineties and race to his milestone. But he fell shortly afterward, caught at first slip off pacer Kagiso Rabada (3-48) who was South Africa's standout bowler of the day and took all the wickets.

The ball was nipping about under grey skies amid the threat of rain. Floodlights were on for much of the final session. Kohli and Rahane denied South Africa the chance to make further inroads as they put on 50 off 114 balls.

The pair took its time to settle in before Kohli started playing his trademark shots. He hit 10 fours during his unbeaten 105-ball stay, and brought up his 24th test half-century off 91 deliveries.

Earlier, Agarwal put on 138 runs for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara (58) who was dismissed just prior to tea.

Agarwal became only the second opener after Virender Sehwag (2009-10) to score back-to-back test hundreds against South Africa.

"I am very happy to get back-to-back hundreds," Agarwal said. "The team is in a good position. Opening the innings is about mental discipline. 450-500 would be a good (first innings) total to put pressure on South Africa."

Agarwal and Pujara, who came together on 25-1 after Rohit Sharma was caught behind for 14, dominated the second session with Pujara controlling the spinners. Pujara, who hit nine fours and a six, scored his 22nd test half-century.

South Africa's ploy of playing an extra pacer didn't work. Anrich Nortje (0-60) proved expensive on test debut while Senuran Muthusamy (0-22) only bowled six overs.

In the morning, Rabada used early-morning moisture and a greenish tinge on the pitch to dismiss Sharma cheaply.

India has a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after winning the first test in Visakhapatnam by 203 runs.

India made one change, bringing in pace bowler Umesh Yadav in place of middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari. Yadav last played a test at Perth in December 2018 during India's tour of Australia.

South Africa left out offspinner Dane Piedt.

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