Australia vs India 2018, 3rd Test Melbourne: Mayank Agarwal did everything possible to leave a lasting impact in his first international outing for India in a highly-anticipated Boxing Day contest against Australia. The India opener passed the test with flying colours while taking on Australia’s daunting pace battery at the iconic MCG. But, just before the Tea on day 1, the nerves got the better of the young opener as he got a brilliant delivery from fast-bowling warhorse Pat Cummins.
Cummins, who was responsible for picking up the first wicket of India innings (Hanuma Vihari) delivered when it mattered the most. His tireless effort and impeccable probing line helped him to induce a fair clip of Mayank’s gloves on the docile MSG track. The angle of delivery was going down leg and Agarwal seemed slightly confused whether to fend, or leave. So he does a bit of both and gets a feather loud enough for the umpire to hear to the diving keeper.
Before getting dismissed, debutant Mayank produced a confident 76-run knock as India made a steady start to the third Test against Australia at the MCG. The visitors did not put much runs on the board, taking tea ay 123 for two, as the batsmen largely remained cautious in the first two sessions.
Agarwal, handed Test debut after KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failed in the first two matches, repaid the faith shown in him by the team management with a half-century. With Cheteshwar Pujara, who was unbeaten on 33 runs, he added 83 runs for the second wicket.
Australia vs India – 3rd Test Day 1 Live Score and Updates
Post lunch, India added 66 runs in the second session as both batsmen looked to play with more positive intent. Australia concentrated on keeping runs at a minimum, with Nathan Lyon (0/39) in particular, bowling to a predominantly leg-side field.
But Agarwal kept the scoreboard ticking after a watchful initial period, reaching his maiden Test half-century off 95 balls. Overall, he became the seventh Indian batsman to score a half-century on Test debut.
It was only the second instance in 11 overseas Tests this year that Virat Kohli was yet to arrive at the crease with 100-plus runs on the scoreboard. The first instance was in Nottingham during the second innings against England.
To their credit Australia created chances in the latter half of this second session. In the 52nd over off Mitchell Marsh, a delivery looped up towards gully off Pujara but fell just short of a diving Usman Khawaja.
Then, three overs later, Agarwal edged Cummins (2/24) through the vacant third slip. The pacer picked himself up though and three balls later he had Agarwal as Australia got a boost going into tea.
Earlier, India won the toss and opted to bat on a docile pitch, putting its sixth opening pairing in 2018, and fifth in 11 overseas Tests this year.
But it proved effective as Vihari and Agarwal put on 40 runs after batting out 18.5 overs, India’s longest opening stand in terms of balls faced in Test cricket across Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa since December 2010 when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had batted out 29.3 overs against the Proteas at Centurion.