India finally called in Mayank Agarwal to open and it proved to be a wise decision. He debuted with a half-century for India playing at one of the best batting surfaces of the Test series. Agarwal’s 76 in his first inning brought him in the limelight as he became one of the first openers to score highest debutant score against Australia.
Mayank Agarwal played a well-balanced inning but was eventually led to falling by Pat Cummins by his well-directed delivery. Leading team India, Agarwal opening with Hanuman Vihari made a partnership of 40 in 18.5 overs which is longest for India since July 2011. Making a pleasing half-century, the 27-year-old Agarwal added a total of 83 in 36 overs continuing his inning with Cheteshwar Pujara.
The MCG pitch is known for its reputation of being one of the best batting grounds. The ground lived up to its reputation and India had a comfortable start pushing Australia into desperation. India scored an easy 57 runs in the morning session, followed by a 70 between lunch and tea, finishing at a total of 123/2.
Agarwal’s performance at the MCG ground shows his skills and determination to perform. Even though he’s a debutant but his performance made Adelaide and Perth openers look like novices. From the beginning Agarwal was confident with his bat when he played Nathan Lyon and hit his first Test boundary off Mitchell Starc. Batting firmly, Mayank Agarwal hit a half-century off 95 deliveries giving India a good start. His first Test six came off Lyon against whom he seems to be very comfortable.
While Mayank Agarwal was making his way to impress the MCG crowd, Pujara did what he does-making sound judgements of when to play and when to leave. Having him on the other end worked in favor of Agarwal, till Pujara was dismissed for 33 off Mitchell Marsh’s delivery.
What India needed during the third Test is crease occupation and that is what Agarwal and Vihari provided. Vihari played a tentative game making his first run off the 25th delivery of his inning. Clearly, the task was difficult for Vihari and he was unfamiliar with the conditions of the game. He even got hit on his helmet that called for Indian physio to visit him on the pitch. Not long after he was dismissed by Cummins with a superbly directed bouncer.
At the end of the game, it is the first time that Indian skipper Virat Kohli will come to play after lunch.