Jaiswal, who once again showed his class at the big stage, scored 213 off 259 balls and was well supported by opener Abhimanyu Easwaran’s 154 (240 balls) after skipper Mayank Agarwal missed out on a run-feast on a batting paradise.
The duo put on a mammoth 371-run stand for the second wicket before both were dismissed in quick succession during the closing stages of the day.
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While Easwaran reached century way before Jaiswal, the Bengal right-hander paled in comparison to Mumbai southpaw’s regal shot selection and the manner in which he dominated the two MP spinners — off-break bowler Saransh Jain (0/103 in 24 overs) and left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya (0/90 in 20 overs).
Both spinners failed to hit the right length throughout the day and were short on most occasions. Since they failed to stop the scoreboard from ticking, there was no pressure on batters with as many as 47 boundaries and five sixes being hit on the day.
MP bowlers toiled hard but stand-in skipper Himanshu Mantri had no answer to Jaiswal, who followed up his 265 in Duleep Trophy final with a hundred in an Irani Cup game.
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Jaiswal has had an underwhelming Ranji Trophy season in which he scored only 315 runs in five games with a single hundred and an average of 45, way less than his astounding career average of 81 in 15 first-class games.
Despite not being among top 50 run-getters in Ranji Trophy, Jaiswal was selected in the Rest of India squad purely because selectors and head coach Rahul Dravid believed in his ability. He is someone like Shubman Gill and has the potential to be fast-tracked into the top tier of international cricket.
At this point, there might not be any vacancy in the Indian Test squad but once this World Test Championship (WTC) cycle is over, Cheteshwar Pujara could well be phased out and India wouldn’t mind a dominant No. 3 in the international set-up.
The difference between Jaiswal and Easwaran was very stark. While Easwaran punished the poor deliveries, Jaiswal didn’t let the good deliveries go unpunished too. Jaiswal hit 30 fours and five sixes during his innings.
There were back-foot punches, lofted shots but what stayed during the opening day’s play was back-to-back boundaries off Avesh Khan just before the final hour of the day.
One was a delivery, pitched on back of length and slightly jagged back in but Jaiswal made enough room for himself and used the pace of the delivery to play a deft back cut behind point for a boundary.
The immediate next delivery was a bouncer from Avesh and he arched back and played the perfect ramp shot.
His double hundred came when he followed a rank long hop from part-time spinner Shubham Sharma and cut him for a boundary to bring up his double hundred in only 230 balls. To celebrate his milestone, he deposited Saransh into the long-off stand for his third six.
In his short career, he has crossed 50-run mark 10 times and out of those 10 knocks, he has converted them into three figure mark on eight occasions.
Easwaran, who has been in the Team India fringes for a couple of years now, hit his 22nd first-class hundred and the innings was laced with 17 fours and two sixes.
Brief Scores: Rest of India 381/3 in 87 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 213, Abhimanyu Easwaran 154, Avesh Khan 2/51) vs MP.
(With inputs from PTI)
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