Boxing Day Test: Debutant Mayank Agarwal highlights strong India show on Day 1

first_imgTest match cricket on Boxing Day lived up to the expectations as India dominated the first day’s play against Australia in the third Test in Melbourne on Wednesday.India captain Virat Kohli won a crucial toss and opted to bat first on a flat and slow surface at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and reached 215 for 2 at stumps, thanks to superb knocks from Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli.Pujara was 68 not out, with India captain Virat Kohli batting on 47 at stumps on the first day.But it was debutant Agarwal who stole the show with an outstanding innings of 76 runs after he opened the innings with Hanuma Vihari.The new Indian opening pair added 40 runs for the first wicket before Pat Cummins bounced out Vihari for 8 after the first hour’s play.Agarwal then added 83 runs for the second wicket with Pujara as the duo batted with positive intent.But just when it seemed like Agarwal would go on to score a memorable century on debut, the right-hander departed against the run of play as Cummins struck right at the stroke of tea.Agarwal’s 76 off 161 balls became the highest score by an Indian batsman on debut in Australia.The 27-year-old looked at ease against the fast bowlers and off-spinner Nathan Lyon alike throughout the first session and continued in the same vein after the lunch break.Agarwal became the 27th Indian batsman to score a fifty on Test debut. He is also only the second Indian opener to make his debut on Australian soil. Amir Elahi, the 40th player to represent the country, had made his debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground way back in 1947-48.advertisementThe Bangalore-born cricketer also became the second Indian to score a half-century on debut in Australia after Dattu Phadkar (51 vs Australia at SCG in 1947).Agarwal’s departure saw Pujara team up with Kohli in the final session in which they scored 92 runs to see the team through safely through to stumps.Starc bowled with serious pace late in the day after Tim Paine took the second new ball in the 83rd over and even produced a couple of chances but was unable to break the 92-run partnership for the third wicket. This is currently the highest stand for the visitors in this series.Kohli even got a reprieve in the 87th over when he was dropped for 47 by Paine off Starc’s bowling. The dropped catch just summed up Australia’s day in the field.Cummins, who was the most impressive bowler on show on the first day, finished with 2 wickets for 40 runs while the rest of the bowlers, including Lyon who bowled 21 overs, went wicketless.The four-Test series is evenly poised at 1-1 after Australia’s victory in the second contest in Perth. India won the opener in Adelaide.Brief scores: India (215/2) at stumps against Australia in Melbourne. Cheteshwar Pujara (68*), Virat Kohli (47*), Mayank Agarwal (76), Pat Cummins (2/40).last_img read more