Sports

Ind Vs Aus 3rd Test Day 1: Mayank, Pujara Shine With Bat, To Guide India 215/2 At Stumps

ASHISH MEENA | 0
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| December 26 , 2018 , 15:10 IST

Virat Kohli & Co. after winning the toss elected to bat first, some brilliant performance from debutant Mayank Agarwal and no.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara helped India to reach a dominating score 215/2 at stumps on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday.

Till the end of the day's play Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on 68* while Indian skipper Virat Kohli was on 47* at the other end. Both the batsmen showed up excellent skills and added on an unbeaten third wicket stand of 92 runs after the new look opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari gave the visitors a slow but steady start.

Resuming the third and final session at 123/2, the modern wall and Indian skipper wrested control of the proceedings even as the Australian speedsters maintained a hostile line, coupled with star off-spinner Nathan Lyon's miserly spells.

Pujara continued to flourish in his trademark fashion and eventually reached his 21st Test fifty, Kohli kept the scorers busy by stealing the odd singles and converting some of those into a couple.

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However, towards the end of the day's processing, left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc gave India a scare when he almost had Kohli caught behind, only for skipper Tim Paine to drop his counterpart, three shy of his 20th Test half-century.

Earlier, Pujara helped to lay the foundation for a stellar first innings total when he was involved in another big partnership -- an 83-run second-wicket stand with rookie opener Mayank Agarwal, who shone with a brilliant 76.
Mayank and his makeshift opening partner Hanuma Vihari (8) started the proceedings with a 40-run opening stand before the latter was undone by a short delivery from Pat Cummins that ended in a simple catch to Aaron Finch at second slip.

Mayank however, continued to play well within himself, but did not hold back from his natural strokeplay when the opportunity presented itself.

The Karnataka right-hander milked Lyon for a few boundaries and did well to escape several nasty bouncers from the hostile Aussie pacers before eventually getting to his maiden Test half-century.

With Pujara giving him company, the rookie couldn't have found a better partner at the non-striker's end, but inexperience finally led to his undoing him when he failed to fend another short-pitched ball from Cummins to be caught behind just at the stroke of tea.

From there on, it was the Kohli-Pujara show that yielded 92 unbeaten runs -- the highest of the series so far -- which could pinch the Australians, especially on a track which could deteriorate as the match progresses.

Brief scores at the end of the day: India 215/2 (Mayank Agarwal 76, Cheteshwar Pujara 68 batting, Virat Kohli 47 batting; Pat Cummins 2/40) vs Australia at stumps on Day 1.

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