Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara combined for a huge 170-run partnership – and held the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for five sessions. @ AFP
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara combined for a huge 170-run partnership – and held the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for five sessions. @ AFP

Former India cricketer Madan Lal hailed the performances of the tourists’ only centurion in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy Cheteshwar Pujara and the captain Virat Kohli – the duo who combined for a huge 170-run partnership – and held the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for five sessions.

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“The whole credit goes to Pujara and Kohli. Pujara is a kind of player who spends a lot of time on the wicket which helps him get more and more runs. Same is the case with Kohli. When he starts batting it feels like he would score a hundred. Players like Pujara and Kohli are taking the Indian team forward,” Lal told ANI on Thursday.

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Asked about India’s performance so far in the MCG Test with three days left, Lal said that the visiting side got a solid start.

“India batted really well. What went in their favour was that they got a good start. It was missing in the first two Tests. When you get a good start, other players also get confident and motivated to take the team’s score towards a big total,” he said.

Talking about a good start, Lal endorsed debutant Mayank Agarwal’s 76-run knock and said the gritty innings, which was the highest by any Indian debutant in Australia, said Agarwal showed a lot of attitude and confidence.

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“Mayank Agarwal played really well innings. He showed a good attitude and played with a lot of confidence. Playing your first Test in front of this huge crowd of MCG is a big deal for any cricketer,” he said.

“Agarwal’s contribution was crucial. It is because of his smashing opening innings that India managed a good total in the end.”

Asked to pick a winner in the MCG Test, Lal went with India as he believed Australian batsmen are strong with their defence.

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“I feel we will successfully defend the total. I believe that India could win this match and they will. The Australian batting lineup mostly consists of attacking batsmen which might not be helpful for them, especially, in these conditions,” he said.

“Our bowlers are in very good form. There is no doubt that they would make India win the Test match. If they succeeded in taking early wickets then Australia will be under pressure. Only very special innings in the remaining days of the Test match can save Australia. We stand more chances of winning the Test match,” he added.