In Stats, MCG Test Day 1: Mayank Makes Merry a Day After Christmas
Day 1 of the third Test between Australia and India at Melbourne continued the series’ theme of attritional cricket, but the visitors went into Stumps the much-happier of the two teams with a patient effort taking India to 215/2 after opting to bat first.
Mayank Agarwal was handed India’s 295th Test cap on the opening morning at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and the debutant – who only made the Indian squad as a replacement for the injured Prithvi Shaw – impressed on his maiden outing in international cricket, scoring a determined 76 off 161 balls.
The best numbers from the first day’s play at the MCG:
- Agarwal became only the fifth Indian cricketer to make his debut at the MCG, following K Rai Singh (1948), Probir Sen (1948), Hrishikesh Kanitkar (1999) and one of the two openers discarded for this Test, KL Rahul (2014).
- Incidentally, the 27-year-old had earned his first India cap of any kind in Australia too: in 2009, he represented the India under-19s and scored 160 against Australia U-19.
- Agarwal became India’s sixth Test debutant in 2018. Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari, Prithvi Shaw and Shardul Thakur had also made their maiden Test bows earlier this year.
- India’s new, makeshift opening pair of Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari provided a rare occurrence in Indian Test cricket. Only twice before the MCG Test had India fielded two first-time openers at the top of the order, and the last of those instances came 82 years ago.
- Agarwal and Vihari shared a 40-run partnership in 18.5 overs – India’s longest stand for the opening wicket in Tests in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa since Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir’s 137-run association lasting 29.3 overs in Centurion in December 2010.
- Agarwal went on to score 76 in his maiden Test innings; he would be the third consecutive Indian opener to score 50 or more on Test debut. Earlier Prithvi Shaw had scored 134 against the West Indies (Rajkot, 2018), while Shikhar Dhawan had raced to 187 against Australia (Mohali, 2013).
- The Karnataka batsman became only the second Indian opener to hit a six in Test matches at the MCG; the only other Indian opener documented to have hit sixes in a Test innings at the venue is Virender Sehwag, who hit five sixes during his knock of 195 in 2003.
- Agarwal's 76 would be only the second half-century posted by an Indian opener in 11 overseas Test matches in 2018. The only other India opening batsman to cross 50 in an innings was KL Rahul, who scored 149 in the Oval Test against England.
- His 76 would also be the highest score made by an Indian opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground since Sehwag’s 195 in the Boxing Day Test of 2003/04; the highest any Indian opener had made in three visits to the venue thereafter would be Murali Vijay's 68 - made on the previous tour in 2014/15.
- With Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli also among the runs after the assured start provided by Agarwal and Vihari, the ongoing Test marks only the fifth instance of India having partnerships of 40 runs or more for each of the first three wickets in a Test in Australia; the openers added 40, the second-wicket pair (Agarwal-Pujara) 83, and the third-wicket pairing (Pujara-Kohli) is undefeated on 92.