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India's Sharma hits 50 as Test opener

02 October 2019, MVT 20:27
Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the first day's play of the first Test match between India and South Africa at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on October 2, 2019. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP) /
02 October 2019, MVT 20:27

Senior batsman Rohit Sharma struck a half-century in his first outing as Test opener to help India start strongly in the first match against South Africa on Wednesday.

Sharma -- a star of India's limited-overs teams -- made 52 as the hosts reached 91 for no loss at lunch after electing to bat first at the start of the three-match series in Visakhapatnam.

The 32-year-old Sharma, playing his 28th Test, was put under pressure by the South African quicks early in the innings but gradually found his pace with partner Mayank Agarwal, on 39.

Sharma's 84-ball knock so far witnessed glimpses of his big-hitting one-day form as he smashed five fours and two sixes to fire up a raucous home crowd.

He got to his 11th Test 50 with a cheeky boundary off debut spinner Senuran Muthusamy that was in the air but went wide of the fielder at backward square.

Agarwal also played an assured knock, using his feet to good effect against the South African spinners on a pitch that seems to offer big runs on the first two days.

South Africa, led by Faf du Plessis, rotated their spinners led by Keshav Maharaj for a large part of the morning session.

The tourists, who suffered a 3-0 loss in a four-Test series during their last Indian tour in 2015, have a spin heavy attack and two pacemen in Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander.

Visakhapatnam, India | AFP

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