VISAKHAPATNAM, Oct 3: Mayank Agarwal showed insatiable appetite for runs, converting his maiden Test hundred into a brilliant double before the Indian spinners tightened the noose around the exhausted South Africans on the second day of the series opener here on Thursday.
Playing his first Test in India, Agarwal showed remarkable concentration and endurance for his monumental 215 off 371 balls that allowed the hosts to declare their first innings at 502 for seven in 136 overs.
In response, South Africa were staring down the barrel at close of play, losing Aiden Markram (5), Theunis de Bruyn (4) and night watchman Dane Piedt (0) under floodlights to be 39 for three in 20 overs, trailing India by 463 runs.
Ravichandran Ashwin provided the breakthroughs by getting through the defences of Markram with a classical off-break that turned sharply. He then had De Bruyn caught behind before Ravindra Jadeja crashed through Piedt�s defences.
While day one was all about Rohit Sharma (176 off 244), the second day certainly belonged to Agarwal, who made full use of friendly batting conditions.
Barring lead pacer Vernon Philander, the South African bowling put up an ordinary show with their three specialist spinners failing to get much out of the dry and slow surface.
Rohit and Agarwal, who began the day on 115 and 84 respectively with India at 202 for no loss, converted their opening partnership into a record breaking one with a 317-run stand before lunch.
With their massive stand, they surpassed Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid to record India�s highest partnership for any wicket against South Africa.
India 1st Innings: M Agarwal c Piedt b Elgar 215, R Sharma st de Kock b Maharaj 176, C Pujara b Philander 6, V Kohli c&b Muthusamy 20, A Rahane c Bavuma b Maharaj 15, R Jadeja not out 30, H Vihari c Elgar b Maharaj 10, W Saha c Muthusamy b Piedt 21, R Ashwin not out 1. Extras: (b 4, lb 1, nb 2, w 1) 8. Total: (For 7 wickets in 136 overs) 502. Fall of wickets: 1-317, 2-324, 3-377, 4-431, 5-436, 6-457, 7-494. Bowling: V Philander 22-4-68-1, K Rabada 24-7-66-0, K Maharaj 55-6-189-3, DL Piedt 19-1-107-1, S Muthusamy 15-1-63-1, D Elgar 1-0-4-1.
South Africa 1st Innings: D Elgar not out 27, A Markram b Ashwin 5, TB de Bruyn c Saha b Ashwin 4, DL Piedt b Jadeja 0, T Bavuma not out 2. Extras: (lb 1) 1. Total: (For 3 wickets in 20 overs) 39. Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-31, 3-34. Bowling: I Sharma 2-0-8-0, Mohammed Shami 2-2-0-0, R Ashwin 8-4-9-2, R Jadeja 8-1-21-1. � PTI