MUMBAI: Under pressure to prove his worth, Mayank Agarwal made the best statement possible with a superb hundred as India recovered from a sudden top-order collapse to reach 221 for 4 in two extended opening day sessions against New Zealand in the second Test here on Friday.
Agarwal (120 batting, 246 balls), who is all but certain to sit out once Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul come back during the next series (if South Africa then away, if West Indies then home), added to a happy headache for coach Rahul Dravid, on a day when vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had to be dropped because of a hamstring niggle.
Worse, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli failed to trouble the scorers and it was a hundred that came under pressure with India being 80 for 3 and 160 for 4 at different stages of the game.
Had the Indian team management been forced to play Rahane, the ax was likely to fall on Agarwal and it's never a great feeling to go out there in such a situation.
He was jittery to begin with as a streaky boundary through slips came early on but once he marched down the track to loft Ajaz Patel (29-10-73-4) for a straight six, his nerves had all but vanished.
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