It is not the best way of making your debut at a legendary ground like Melbourne, and in a test that could very well decide the outcome of the series. However, that rarely troubled Mayank Agarwal. The feisty opener hit a gritty 76 runs in front of a packed holiday crowd on the boxing day to provide India with a steady start. He returned the confidence shown in him by the selectors by coming up a maiden half-century soon after lunch.
The milestone came off just 95 balls after he walked down the track and drove straight past the bowler for a stunning boundary. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get to his maiden century after gloving Pat Cummins to Tim Paine.
Wonderfully played by Mayank Agarwal. Has shown no nerves and the mountain of runs he has scored seems to have stood him in good stead. Has batted so far like he belongs
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 26, 2018
The Bangalore-based opener had a stellar 2017-18 domestic season, where he scored 2253 runs in 36 innings across formats. That also included his maiden triple-ton in a first-class game for Karnataka. As a result, he finished the year as the highest scorer in an Indian domestic season.
Runs have been at a premium, but India with only two batsmen dismissed hold the edge. Of course a 2-3 quick wickets tomorrow could change the equation dramatically. Much depends on how Pujara-Kohli negotiate first hour. Story of first day surely Mayank Agarwal’s fine debut
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) December 26, 2018
The gravity of those runs earned him a call-up in the Indian squad for the home Tests against the Windies. Mayank did play for India President XI against West Indies where he scored 90 runs. However, he couldn’t break into the playing XI then, with Prithvi Shaw shining in that slot. Nonetheless, he got the big opportunity of donning the Indian shirt in the ongoing test series against Australia as a result of the dismal form of Murali Vijay and KL Rahul. An unfortunate injury to Prithvi Shaw also was elementary here.
He grabbed the opportunity with both the hands and went on to score the highest score by an Indian on debut in Australia.
Agarwal plays an aggressive brand of batting. He rose slowly through the ranks and took his time to reach the top, although he had been prolific in age-group cricket. In fact, he was India’s highest run-scorer in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2010.
Before the test, Mayank’s coach, Irfan Sait had explained how he wanted Agarwal to be expressive with the bat and to play impactful innings like Virender Sehwag.
“I am expecting an aggressive Sehwag-like innings tomorrow in Melbourne Test,” Sait had told PTI. “I wouldn’t like to make any comparisons, but Sehwag (many times) appeared laidback and casual in his approach. Mayank never looked casual. He is intense and a very serious player,” Sait added.
“His approach is not of deflecting and pushing at balls. He is positive. We will not see him bog down. I am expecting him to continue his good form and adopting aggressive tactics while batting.”
Now that KL Rahul is dropped from the 3rd test and Mayank Agarwal takes his place, can we get this man to retire from the job which he is forced to do and rather do what he does best – Modelling 🙏🏻#AUSvIND #BoxingDayTest #MelbourneTest pic.twitter.com/SJa9sdABDi
— 🅴🅿🅸🅲 🅶🅰🅼🅴🆁 🎅🏻🎄 (@DespacitoAt399) December 25, 2018
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