So, India have made the best possible start to their 2019/20 home Test season by scoring 202 runs in less than 60 overs, without losing even a single wicket, against South Africa in the first Test at Vishakhapatnam. After the innumerable comments about Rohit Sharma and his batting position, the Mumbai batsman smashed a brilliant hundred.
Mayank Agarwal too is on his way to a three-figure score at the other end. The South Africans were left clueless as their pacers looked ineffective and the spinners incapable of getting wickets. So, as Virat Kohli's team establishes its dominance over the visitors, let us recap day 1 of the series by checking out the five biggest lessons we learnt from it.
It's a flat pitch
What sort of pitch would be prepared for the first Test was a question many people would have had in their minds. After day 1, it can be conclusively said that this is a flat pitch. The seamers, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, tried hard but had absolutely no help from the track. Spinners also didn't get the ball to spin much.
As a result, winning the toss and batting first was a huge advantage for India. One other thing that needs to be kept in mind is that the track does look rather bare. This means it could deteriorate as the game goes on and the Indian spinners will come into play. This doesn't bode well for South Africa.
Bad selection by Proteas
The South African team's decision to play Dane Piedt as the second spinner in the team and have Senuran Muthusamy for the fifth bowler is a strange one and it looks even worse after day 1. If the pitch was a raging Bunsen burner, then playing a second spinner would have made sense.
However, the track seems to be a typical India pitch that will deteriorate with time and not right from the beginning. In such a situation, to pick an unproven commodity like Dane Piedt was a big gamble. There is a school of thought in cricket which says teams should pick their best bowlers regardless of conditions.
While this idea may not always work, one wonders whether playing Lungi Ngidi or even Anrich Nortje would have been a better option. Certainly, they wouldn't have done worse than Piedt has on day 1.
Agarwal has true quality
When India plays at home, things are much easier for the batsmen. Hence, one good innings can't be a guarantee of overall success. Still, there is something about the batting of Mayank Agarwal that suggests class and quality.
One particular stroke that he played, a lofted cover drive for six, stood out as a shining example of the great talent he possesses. Considering he already has a good outing in Australia and West Indies under his belt, Agarwal is one player India should invest in.
Maharaj yet to find his groove
To be fair, the ball didn't turn as much as expected on day 1. Still, one has to say that Keshav Maharaj bowled a bit too full most of the time. He was easily driven by both Indian batsmen. The best length is the one where the batters don't know whether to go forward or stay back. Those sorts of deliveries were few and far between.
Piedt completely out of his depth
If Maharaj was a bit too full, his spin-bowling partner was all over the place. His cause wasn't helped by the fact that he was facing a well-set Rohit Sharma. The Indian opener is brutal against spinners after he has got his eye in.
The off-spinner also bowled a bit too straight and short at times. Unfortunately for him, when he pitched the ball up, he got hammered by the Indian opening duo. It was simply, a day to forget for the tweaker.