Mayank Agarwal had waited for a very long time to get an opportunity in the Indian cricket team. When he got the opportunity in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test, he grabbed it with both hands by slamming a magnificent 76. His calm composure and assured technique against both pace and spin has yielded Indian cricket another great find at the top of the order. In the Sydney Test, he enhanced his reputation further by registering his second fifty in three innings to put India in a brilliant position against Australia after Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat on a greenish Sydney Cricket Ground wicket.
Agarwal was in great touch and he looked to counterattack after his opening partner KL Rahul departed cheaply yet again. He got going with a boundary through extra cover off Pat Cummins as he and Cheteshwar Pujara got going. After the first boundary, Agarwal was in the flow and drove well against Cummins and Mitchell Starc. However, towards the first session, the Karnataka right-hander was troubled by the short-pitched barrage from Starc. One ball hit him on the elbow which required some medical attention while one bouncer hit him on the glove to balloon over the slips. He survived the torrid session and was in a good position to reach yet another landmark.
Following the lunch break, Agarwal notched up his second fifty by hammering a wide ball from Starc to the deep cover fence as Peter Siddle, the substitute gave chase. As the fielder stopped the ball, his foot touched the rope and it gave Agarwal his milestone. After reaching the landmark, the right-handed batsman opened up. He pulled Cummins to the deep square leg fence and lofted Nathan Lyon for two sixes, one over long on and one over long off as he targeted Australia’s premier spinner.
However, in the quest for aggression, Agarwal miscued one lofted shot and holed out to Starc at long on to depart for 77, his highest Test score following his 76 in Melbourne. Agarwal, who was called up to the Indian side only after Prithvi Shaw was declared unfit for the entire series, has made the Indian top order steady with his contributions. It could be a matter of time before Agarwal has his first century in Tests.