Opener Mayank Agarwal said India were in a “great position” after reaching 264/5 in challenging conditions on the first day of the second Test against West Indies in Jamaica.
Agarwal, who scored 55, reached his third Test half-century with an edge to the boundary.
“Conditions were challenging. I thought in the first session the ball was doing a bit. Kemar Roach and [Jason] Holder bowled in great areas. It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of moisture and the ball was doing a bit,” Agarwal said at the press conference after the day’s play. “We are in a great position. To have just lost five wickets on a track like that was a good effort from our side.”
Put into bat on a tricky Sabina Park pitch, India were reduced to 46/2 in the opening session, but Virat Kohli and (76) Agarwal worked hard to rebuild the innings.
“I think Holder is bowling in great areas, he is not giving you an inch. He is there pegging in those areas, pegging on length and short of length. And you know he doesn’t give free deliveries for you to score off of,” he said.
“So, the pressure is always there even if you defend him off. The first spell he bowled six-seven overs in that he’s given three or four maidens, so as a batsman you know you’re not getting much out of him.”
West Indies’ debutant Rahkeem Cornwall bowled 27 out of the 90 overs during the day, giving away just 69 runs while piling the pressure on the Indian batsmen and taking the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara.
Agarwal was impressed by the off-spinner.“Rakheem is very, very consistent, he forms good clusters and he keeps bowling those areas. I thought it wasn’t very easy to score off him. We took our time and it was very important for Virat and me to actually get a partnership going and it was important that one of us went on to score big. He definitely gets a lot more bounce compared to many other spinners. He just keeps hitting those lengths.”
Agarwal added that his captain batted well to “negate the time before lunch and then to come out after lunch with that kind of positivity. He gets a lot of intensity when he comes to bat.”
The conditions got better for batsmen as the day progressed. “I can say it got a little better to bat on after the first session. The wicket got a lot harder as the sun beat down, it lost some of its moisture.
“It just kept getting a little better to bat on, but I think credit must be given to the West Indies bowlers, especially Roach and Holder, they kept coming and kept bowling tight lines,” said Agarwal.