Melbourne, December 26: Young Karnataka batsman Mayank Agarwal's dream of making an India debut finally came true when he walked into the middle to open innings for India in the third Test match against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here on Wednesday (December 26).
Agarwal became the 295th Indian cricketer to make his appearance in India whites and first-ever opener since 1947 to play his maiden Test on the Australian soil.
Before Mayank, Amir Elahi was the first Indian opener to play his first game in Australia. Elahi opened the second innings at Sydney in December 1947 after batting at number 10 in the first innings.
The only other time an Indian opener made his Test debut in Australia, before Mayank Agarwal - was Amir Elahi in the 2nd innings at Sydney in Dec 1947. Incidentally, Elahi had gone in at #10 in the first innings!#AusvInd#AusvsInd— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) December 25, 2018
Mayank opened the Indian innings along with Hanuma Vihari and became only the third new opening pair for India. Before these two, J Navle and N Jaoomal (1932 Lord's Test) and D Hindlekar and V Merchant (1936, Lord's Test) were the only new opening pair for India.
The duo started the proceedings well for India as they negotiated well with the condition. Together the opening partnership lasted for 18.5 overs before Hanuma Vihari was dismissed for 8 after facing 66 deliveries. Vihari was removed by Pat Cummins while misjudging the short-pitched delivery and ending up getting caught at second slip.
India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and immediately chose to bat first on a pitch that looks getting slower as the match progresses.
The series is currently levelled 1-1 after the teams won a game each in Adelaide and Perth. India beat Australia by 31 runs in the first Test while Australia came back strongly with a 146-run win in the second match.
Team India have never won a Boxing Day Test match played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, also known as 'The G'.
The visitors have made three changes to their playing XI by bringing in debutante Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja in the side. However, hosts Australia have replaced Peter Handscomb with all-rounder Mitchell Starc in their side.