It’s all sunny in Mayank’s la-la land!

After hammering a double century against South Africa in the first Test last week, Mayank scored a classy 108 against the Proteas at the MCA on Thursday.

Mayank Agarwal celebrates after scoring his second century of the series against South Africa at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Thursday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Life, just like cricket, is all about glorious uncertainties. And no one knows it better than Mayank Agarwal.

Around this time last year, the young batsman was waiting for that ‘one opportunity’ to prove his mettle, after piling tons of runs at the domestic level for months and years. It took him some time to catch the eye of the national selection committee, and even though Mayank managed to earn himself a Test call-up against the West Indies in October last year, he had no other option but to warm the bench.

As it Happened

As another youngster, Prithvi Shaw set the stage on fire — with back-to-back centuries against the Caribbeans in that series — Mayank waited patiently for his turn.

A year later, life is bright and sunny for Mayank!

After hammering a double century against South Africa in the first Test last week, the 28-year-old opening batsman struck yet another classy knock of 108 against the Proteas at the MCA International Stadium on Thursday, to put India in the driver’s seat.

Pune has always been a special venue for Mayank after having played an unbeaten innings of 304 for Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy fixture against Maharashtra, two years ago. That innings set the stage for the 1,000 run-spree in just a month.

Coming into the game, Mayank knew the job won’t be easy as the suspense prevailed over the Pune track. With the region witnessing incessant rains over the fortnight, there were speculations that the fast bowlers could rip off the top-order batsmen, taking advantage of the moisture in the pitch. But that had little impact on Mayank, who relied on his natural game, and managed to overcome the early jitters caused by Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada.

Upping the ante

Going into lunch on 34, Mayank upped his game in the next session — pairing with Cheteshwar Pujara — and ensured there was no slip-up. As the pair gave India the toughness it needed in the middle after Rohit Sharma’s early exit, Mayank stood firm, determined and fearless.

That showed in his game as he hit Keshav Maharaj for two consecutive sixes to reach 99. Not many dare to take chances in the nineties, but then, Agarwal doesn’t mind playing his shots.

During a chat with Sportstar soon after the IPL, where he amassed 332 runs in 13 games for Kings XI Punjab, Agarwal had admitted that it was important for a batsman like him to look for chances and play on as smartly as possible. And that’s something he planned to execute in the coming months.

In the Test series so far, the Karnataka batsman has just done that: looking for opportunities and dominating the opponents with élan.

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