Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal shared a 317-run opening stand against South Africa, the best ever in Tests between the two sides. (Image credit: Sachin Tendulkar Twitter)
Rohit Sharma had stolen the show on the first day of the Vizag Test against South Africa by smashing a century in his first innings as an opener. However, on the second day, Mayank Agarwal joined the list by smashing his first Test century. The duo punished the South Africans on a placid track and India looked set to amass a big total. However, at the stroke of lunch, Rohit fell for 176 and the opening partnership ended at 317. Rohit's first Test innings yielded 177 against West Indies in Kolkata in 2013 while his first Test innings as an opener yielded 176.
However, the duo of Rohit and Agarwal smashed some opening records. Their tally of 317 runs is the 12th highest in the history of Test cricket and the third best by an Indian pair. The highest opening stand is 415 and it was achieved in 2008 by Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith against Bangladesh in Chattogram. The highest Indian opening stand is 413 by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy against New Zealand in Chennai in 1956. The second-highest is 410 by Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag against Pakistan in Lahore in 2006.
However, this is the best opening partnership in Tests between India and South Africa. Before Agarwal and Rohit's 317-run stand, the previous best was 236 by Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten in the 1996 Kolkata Test. This was the second time that South Africa had conceded an opening partnership in excess of 300 in their Test history. England's Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook smashed 359 in the 1948 Johannesburg Test and this remains the highest-ever in Tests against South Africa.
While Agarwal notched up his maiden century, Rohit smashed six sixes in his knock of 176 and he entered a prestigious list of Indian players who have hit six or more sixes in an innings. Navjot Singh Sidhu holds the record with eight sixes against Sri Lanka in 1994 at Lucknow. The likes of Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya and Virender Sehwag have smashed seven sixes while MS Dhoni has hit six sixes three times. Apart from Dhoni, Ravi Shastri and Sehwag have also hit six sixes apart from Rohit. The partnership of the duo has ensured India are in a strong position and are favorites to take the lead in the three-match series against South Africa.