Boxing Day Test: Mayank Agarwal scores fifty on Test debut as opener
Mayank Agarwal got to a fifty on Test debut off 95 balls. (Image: BCCI)

India’s latest debutant Mayank Agarwal has made a promising start  to his international career by scoring a half-century on Test debut, helping the visiting team make a good start to the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In doing so, Agarwal has become the sixth India opener to reach 50 in his first innings of Test cricket.

Those before him to have achieved this are, in chronological order: Dilawar Hussain (59) versus England in Kolkata in 1934, KC Ibrahim (85) versus West Indies in Delhi in 1948, Sunil Gavaskar (65) against West Indies at Port of Spain in 1971, Arun Lal (63) versus Sri Lanka in Chennai in 1982, Shikhar Dhawan (187) versus Australia in Mohali in 2013 and Prithvi Shaw (134) versus West Indies in Rajkot in October. (LIVE SCORECARD: INDIA vs AUSTRALIA, MCG TEST)

Shaw was replaced in India’s Test squad in Australia by Agarwal, who was previously part of the squad for the home series against West Indies.

Confirmed for a debut as opener on Tuesday, the 27-year-old Agarwal blunted the new ball at the MCG and with Hanuma Vihari batted out an hour and 20 minutes to give India a solid start after Virat Kohli won a great toss. Their opening stand of 40 in 18.5 overs is the longest any India opening pair has batted in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries since July 2011. (LIVE UPDATES: INDIA vs AUSTRALIA, MCG TEST)

Agarwal was positive, using his feet well and playing Nathan Lyon with a straight bat. He got off the mark fourth ball with a push into the covers for three off Josh Hazlewood, then clipped him for three off the toes. His first boundary in Test cricket came via an outside edge off Mitchell Starc past gully, but the sight of Lyon settled him. In the offspinner’s first over, he slapped a drive into the covers. Later, Lyon floated it wider and Agarwal cracked another four with the panache of Virat Kohli.

Agarwal hit a four off the first ball after lunch and moved to his half-century on debut off 95 deliveries with a firmly struck boundary off Lyon back past the bowler.