Mayank Agarwal (left) and Aiden Markram. Pics: Getty Images
Agarwal has scored 135 runs in six innings at an average of 22.50, with a solitary half-century. Markram has fared even worse, managing only 60 runs in five innings at an average of 12.
Agarwal was caught behind for 7 off Kagiso Rabada’s bowling in India’s second innings on Wednesday. Analyzing the opener’s woes, Pollock said on Cricbuzz Chatter:
“I think he’s got a little bit of a similar thing to Markram. I have never been a fan of guys who pick the bat up steep and keep it close. In order to defend or play, you’ve got to, sort of drop it into the slot. Guys who have their backlift quite low to the ground, Kallis, Root, Kohli to a degree, AB de Villiers, they can be soft on what they decide to do. When they want to bail out of a shot, they are not 100 percent committed to the downswing.”
The South African legend pointed out that batters can adjust their high backlift in subcontinental conditions, where the ball doesn’t nip around. However, the case is not the same in a place like South Africa. Pollock added:
“Him and Markram have a similar kind of issue on these surfaces that are nipping around. On flatter surfaces in India, you can rely on your bat speed and get away with it. But when you are asked (questions) by the movement through the air and off the seam, sometimes he (Agarwal) is found wanting. That may be something he has to have a look.”
In his last 14 innings in away Tests, Agarwal has scored only one half-century, which came in the first innings of the Centurion encounter.
“Ashwin will come into the game very much in the 4th innings” – Dinesh Karthik on India’s chances
The visitors ended Day 2 of the Cape Town Test with a lead of 70 and eight second-innings wickets in hand. According to wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli and co. should feel comfortable if they score 270. He stated:
“Both teams haven’t batted to their potential. SA have a far lighter batting compared to India. But India, a lot of times, they start well but somewhere they seem to fritter away a bit. For me, if they can manage anything above 270, I think they would be sitting pretty in this Test match.”
Karthik opined that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has had a quiet series in pace-friendly conditions, might finally have a decisive role to play. He elaborated:
“Ashwin will come into the game very much in the 4th innings. Anything under 240, South Africa will fancy themselves. A lot will depend on Dean Elgar. He is the glue that holds South Africa together. If they get him out early, any score is going to be hard enough for South Africa.”
India will resume their second innings on 57 for 2, with Virat Kohli unbeaten on 14 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 9.