Mayank Agarwal once again has shown his capability to be India’s reliable opening batsman for Tests. Playing his third inning, Agarwal has driven India third time in a row before falling for 77. However, because of his own impetuosity, he lost his chance to make his maiden hundred. His 77 has given India a solid platform from where they can push for the decisive first innings total.
At Sydney, by the tea time India reached 177/2 with Pujara playing at 61 off 138 deliveries and Virat Kohli at 23 off 56.
In the morning session, India did not have a great start with KL Rahul again failing to perform losing his chance for nine. At 69, India made a comeback in the afternoon game moving forward with additional 108. Mayank Agarwal looked ungainly against Josh Hazlewood’s wearing short ball but after lunch, he opened up and played the sharp pace bowling effectively.
Agarwal is a player who is adapting to the game really fast and is making strides. The 27-year-old made his second Test fifty playing against Mitchel Starc. The bowlers were trying hard to keep a hook on Agarwal’s play but he was showing craftsmanship playing the deliveries with caution and plan.
Then came Nathan Lyon and Agarwal hit a long-on six on his first delivery. But even a better shot came off his next delivery that took Agarwal past his previous best of 76 with even a bigger six. But playing the same shot after two balls proved to be a needless shot for Mayank Agarwal as Starc was at long-on. Losing to Starc made Agarwal throw away his maiden century chance for nothing.
His partnership of 116 runs with Pujara gave India a platform to build upon. The next to join Pujara is the skipper Virat Kohli who showed tenacity in his play opening his play with a four. Pujara played the way does it best with a calm attitude and happy to leave everything outside off stump. He was in no sort of rush to score and was playing long shots only against accurate bowling. But there came a time in the play with Pujara cashed in the patience after lunch during Marnus Labuschagne over. Pujara played aggressively during his over going from 49 to 61 in the span of mere six balls. This is also an inning that got his in books for playing on the crease past 25 hours.
None of the Australian bowlers was able to dictate terms against Pujara and Agarwal. India was 177/2 till tea break.