Mayank Agarwal, handed Test debut after KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failed in the first two matches, repaid the faith shown in him.
Debutant Mayank Agarwal produced a confident 76-run knock as India made a rare steady start to the third Test against Australia at the MCG on Wednesday.
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.
He fell just before the tea break, caught down the leg side off Pat Cummins, who had dismissed make-shift opener Hanuma Vihari in the opening session.
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.
Former cricketers, experts and fans on social media praised Mayank's innings:
Very happy for @mayankcricket . Has waited for his opportunity and has made it count on the big stage. Pujara solid as ever and Kohli looking good. India will need to bat big in the first innings #BoxingDayTest pic.twitter.com/iKtzIDXvXJ— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) December 26, 2018
Fine debut for Mayank Agarwal. May not have been a hundred but he played like he belonged.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 26, 2018
What a brilliant debut for Mayank Agarwal. Did not get the he deserved but he showed that he deserves to be playing test cricket at the biggest venue in world cricket #AusvInd— Dipesh Shah (@mrdipeshashah) December 26, 2018
76 runs on Debut for Mayank Agarwal against aussi attack in this #BoxingDayTest is commendable even if the pitch is docile looking at the track record of much hyped openers like KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan.— Sanskari Bhediya (@pkg_lonewolf) December 26, 2018
Well played Mayank Agarwal. Outstanding innings on debut against a top class attack— Ricky Jana (@rickyjana) December 26, 2018
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.