Hamilton: Mayank Agarwal batted thrice on Day One of the tour match. First was his brief outing in the middle that lasted 13 balls. The other two were prolonged practice sessions under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff. The purpose of the rigorous batting session was to overcome a minor technical glitch that had developed in Agarwal's game.
The problem was that Agarwal was getting closed off at the point of impact. It meant his bat had to come around his body to meet the ball which caused him to play inside the line of the ball. The technical hiccup was resulting in him edging the ball to the slip cordon.
On Sunday, all those practice drills enabled him to overcome the issue as he scored fluent 81 in 99 balls before retiring to the dressing room. It was the first time Agarwal had crossed 50 in 10 innings on the toursix of those were for India 'A' last month.
While Agarwal shone with the bat, his opening partner Prithvi Shaw missed out after being castled by Daryl Mitchell's inswinger for 39. Shubman Gill, the competitor to Shaw for the opening slot, failed to capitalise as he was trapped in front by Mitchell for eight.
Rishabh Pant joined Agarwal and the pair added 100 in just 111 deliveries. Agarwal drove the ball down the ground imperiously while Pant used his power to bludgeon balls all around the park. Pant finally fell for 70, but the wicketkeeper-batsman opted to continue batting with Wriddhiman Saha, who remained unbeaten on 30 and Ravichandran Ashwin scored 16 not out. Both teams shook hands with India's second innings score reading 252-4.
The three-day warm-up was a strong hit for India ahead of the first Test starting in Wellington on Friday. And India will feel confident heading into the Test, especially with Agarwal rediscovering his touch at the top of the order.
It was the first time Agarwal had crossed 50 in 10 innings on the toursix of those were for India A
India XI 263 & 252-4 (M Agarwal 81, R Pant 70, W Saha 30*; D Mitchell 3-33) v NZ XI 235 (H Cooper 40; M Shami 3-17, J Bumrah 2-18)