Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Mayank Agarwal’s 30-ball challenge

India Test opener Agarwal struggled against the left-arm pace of Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya on return to Ranji Trophy.

Mayank Agarwal could score only two runs in his 30-ball outing in the Ranji Trophy semifinal fixture against Saurashtra at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

It must be surreal for a batsman to return to roots after tasting international cricket. Karnataka batting mainstay Mayank Agarwal, who had a mirror-cracking debut in Australia last month, pulled in 100-odd people from the streets to fill one stand at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as the host opted to bat against Saurashtra in the second semifinal of Ranji Trophy 2018-19.

The wicket had a tinge of grass and Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat read the pitch correctly on Wednesday. He had said that it is likely to assist the fast bowlers in the first two days.

Unadkat and youngster Chetan Sakariya — both left-arm pacers — maintained their off-stump ‘angling it into the right-hander’ classical theory to keep Agarwal on his toes, eventually dismissing him in 30 balls.

Here’s a breakdown how the pacers set him up.

1. Sakariya to Agarwal: Good length delivery but a little wide, Mayank leaves the ball to understand the length.

2. Sakariya maintains the length and pitches it in the same offside region with two slips in place, Mayank lets it go.

3. Perhaps, the widest delivery. Sakariya struggled a bit to get the line right. It was beyond the reach of the batsman.

4. This time, Sakariya keeps it full. Agarwal blocks it with a straight bat.

5. He betters the length in the fifth ball. Finally. This one was right on the off-stump; Agarwal pushes it to the off-side.

6. A good length delivery, Agarwal leaves.

7. A good length delivery again, and on the stumps. Agarwal goes on backfoot to defend.

8. Finally, the deceptive ball that went in; Agarwal pushes it to the off-side to get off the mark.

9. Unadkat follows the plan after the eight Sakariya deliveries got Agarwal thinking. He keeps it full on the off-stump as well, Agarwal blocks the delivery.  

10. Agarwal tucks this one to fine-leg for a single.

11. Agarwal walks up to Karun Nair to have a chat; Sakariya maintains the off-stump length. He finally gets it right. Agarwal plunges it towards square-leg.

12. Same delivery; Agarwal goes behind to defend.

Wagon wheel of Mayank Agarwal's 30-ball outing.   -  BCCI


13. Too full and wide of off. This looked deliberate and part of the ploy. Agarwal couldn’t get his bat to touch that one.

14. And that’s the golden ball. Agarwal survives. This one went in, missed the inside edge, and hit his pads.

15. Aware of that one deceptive ball, Agarwal continues being defensive. This one came full on the stumps. He defends it without any discomfort.

16. This one hits him on the pads but it was going down leg.

17. Sakariya forces Agarwal to play on the front foot this time but he blocks this one too.

18. This one goes straight to mid-on. It is interesting how the young Sakariya studied Agarwal and managed to keep him quiet.

19. Agarwal thought this one was coming back in. He ends up playing the wrong line.

20. A gentle push to mid-off of what looked like a fuller delivery on the off-stump.

21. This was one goes in and surprises Agarwal. It clips on his pads and there is a leg-bye. He goes off the strike.

22. Unadkat to Agarwal: The Saurashtra skipper, in a splendid form on day one, unleashes a back of a length delivery. Agarwal pushes it to the off-side.

23. Agarwal, usually an attacking player, looks a little off-colour today. So far, he could score off only two balls out of 23. Another fantastic ball. Unadkat generates a bit of movement, he misses the outside edge of Agarwal’s bat.

24. A good length ball, defended successfully.

25. This ball moves away. This is super bowling by IPL’s costliest Indian, Unadkat. His angles have been impeccable. Agarwal didn’t move an inch from his crease.

26. This hits the inside edge of the bat and goes to mid-on. The point is he is still batting on 2.

27. On the pads, a good shout, but umpire denies for the height.

28. Unadkat continues the play-and-miss game with Agarwal. This was going away from the batsman.

29. A full delivery to make it look normal. Unadkat has put in a lot of brain behind this spell.

30. And that’s it! Unadkat hits the good length and moves it away from the batsman. Agarwal couldn’t get the bat out of the way and Snell Patel takes a good catch behind the stumps.

The conditions were tough to bat. Unadkat and Sakariya made it tougher. Batting in the fourth innings will be a challenge of a different kind for opener Agarwal who scored 2 off 30 balls.

READ: Unadkat, Sakariya light up pacer-friendly day

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