Rohit Sharma is battling well in the opening test against the Proteas. Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

First Test, Day 1, Lunch
SA: 91/0 (Sharma 52*, Agarwal 39*)

India's openers Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal survived an intense examination from the Proteas new-ball fast bowlers before flourishing against spin during the opening session of the first Test in Visakhapatnam.

Virat Kohli won the toss and had no hesitation on taking first strike on a splendid batting surface, progressing to 91/0. It certainly worked against the Proteas' plans, who opted for three specialist spinners in their line-up.

Cape Cobras captain Dane Piedt earned a recall to Test cricket after a spell in the international wilderness, while there was also a debut for Dolphins all-rounder Senduran Muthusamy. The pair joined frontline left-armer Keshav Maharaj in the starting XI.

The trio had to wait their turn though with the new-ball expectedly handed to Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander. The duo were impressive from the outset with Rabada gaining appreciative outswing with the new ball. Equally, Philander made the ball seam both ways with Sharma (52*) and Agarwal (39*) enduring a testing opening period.

The only criticism that could be levelled against the Proteas' new-ball was that they could have attacked the stumps more in search of the breakthrough.

Both openers had their outside edges tickled though, but the ball flew through the vacant fourth slip region.

But such is life in India that having survived those initial eight overs from the pacemen, the openers flourished once spin was introduced into the attack in the ninth over.

Maharaj had the initial crack before being joined by Piedt. The duo had no luck with both Sharma and Agarwal comfortable against the slower bowlers.

Both batsmen were not afraid to use their feet, particularly against the Piedt's off-spinners, with Agarwal and Sharma despatching sixes high over long-on.

India's dominance of the first session was rubber-stamped when Sharma went to his half-century before the lunch interval - his first as a Test opener.

TEAMS

South Africa
Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Theunis de Bruyn,  Faf du Plessis (capt.), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Senuran Muthusamy, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Piedt

India
Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt.), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami

@ZaahierAdams 


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