Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal has made giant strides in international cricket over the last one year. Image Credit: PTI

The competitiveness they displayed in the T20 series was nowhere in evidence as Bangladesh were blown away inside three days in the first Test in Indore. Up against a rampant Indian side with a pace attack to die for, the visitors were totally schooled, their lack of experience and expertise ruthlessly exposed.

India were well served by the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, as well as the high-quality off-spin of Ravi Ashwin, who was superb on a largely unresponsive surface. But the biggest influencer of the first Test was a young man who, in the last 11 or so months, has made giant strides in international cricket.

It is almost unimaginable that just over two years back, Mayank Agarwal was unsure of his place in the Karnataka Ranji Trophy team. Inconsistency was weighing him down until honest self-assessment, followed by changes as much to his mindset as his technique, brought about a spectacular run of form - including more than 1,000 first-class runs in a single month.

Since that phenomenal November in 2017, Agarwal has gone from strength to strength. He stacked up runs by the thousands across formats for Karnataka, South Zone and India A, thereby breaking open the door to national selection. Once he got there last December, he has made the opening slot his own.

During his searing run that netted him so many runs, Agarwal mastered the art of making not just hundreds, but also double-hundreds and even a triple. The lessons learnt during the hard grind of domestic cricket are his best allies now. Twice in the last four Tests, he has converted a century into a 200-plus score. Having spent years trying to force his way into the Test squad, he knows the value of patience, a virtue that has manifested itself in the manner in which he paces his innings.

Essentially a frontfoot player who favours the cover-drive, Agarwal is also improving other aspects of his batting, especially against the short ball. For an opening batsman, his command over spin is exceptional. His footwork is decisive and positive, not just when he steps out to clear the boundaries with ridiculous ease but also when he goes deep into the crease and manoeuvres the ball square on either side.

However, the biggest indication of his maturity is that he has not tried to bat differently in international cricket. Instead, he has seamlessly extended the formula of run-making cracked at the domestic level.

I can’t wait for the second Test, when India will make history by playing their first day-night Test. Any journey into the unknown is exciting, so why should this be different?