India turned up the heat in style as they thoroughly dictated proceedings on the first day of the Boxing Day Test match in Melbourne.
Debutant Mayank Agarwal gave India the much-needed confidence it needed in the openers’ slot as he slammed his way to a patient 76 off 161 balls with eight fours and one six. He and Hanuma Vihari–who was promoted to the opening slot after both Murali Vijay and KL Rahul were dropped–registered an opening stand of 40 runs before extra bounce from a delivery by Pat Cummins got the better of the Andhra batsman and he had to walk back to the pavilion for just 8 runs.
But there was no stopping Agarwal. Having waited patiently in the ranks for such a long time to make his Test debut, the stylish right-hander showed no signs of nervousness as he went on to add 83 more runs with Cheteshwar Pujara before he gloved one behind to Aussie skipper and wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
However, that proved to be no more than a minor setback for India as in walked their skipper, brimming with confidence and the way he batted for his undefeated 47 truly showed that he is out there to prove a point. The 30-year old came close to getting dismissed on a couple of occasions but grabbed those opportunities with both hands as he along with Pujara (68*) safely took India to stumps on a strong 215/2. Pujara showed signs of his excellence in Adelaide as he struck six fours en route to his 200-ball 68 and he along with his captain to help extend India’s dominance on this contest on the second day as well.
For the hosts, Pat Cummins caused all the trouble with the bounce he generated and this nonetheless accounted for the dismissals of both Agarwal and Vihari. But India seemed to take full control post that period and would aim at continuing the good work with the bat on day two.
Brief scores: India 215/2 (Mayank Agarwal 76, Cheteshwar Pujara 68*, Pat Cummins 2/40) vs Australia