IT was India’s day from the moment that Virat Kohli won the toss on the opening day of the Test series against the Standard Bank Proteas at Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.
The Indian opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal were held in check by the new ball pair of Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander for the first hour but thereafter the home side took charge scoring 91 runs in the first session and a further 111 in the second before play was disrupted by rain five balls before the tea interval.
No further play was possible, leaving India with an imposing total of 202 without loss in 59.1 overs at the close.
Sharma scored his fourth Test match century and went on to an unbeaten 115 (174 balls, 12 fours, 5 sixes) while Agarwal recorded his fourth half-century and went on to a career best of 84 (183 balls, 11 fours and 2 sixes).
The Proteas went into the match with a five-man bowling attack that included three spinners in Keshav Maharaj, Dane Piedt and debutant Senuran Muthusamy – the 102nd player to represent the Proteas in this format.
Maharaj did a good containing job, but the Indians succeeded in targeting the other spin bowlers, particularly Piedt, and both proved expensive, going for a total of 66 runs from their 12 overs. By comparison Maharaj conceded the same number of runs from twice the number of overs.
The early finish will have given the Proteas the chance to regroup and revisit their bowling plans.
At this stage the pitch looks a good batting surface which suggests the Proteas made the right call in the composition of their side.