Boxing Day Test: Leave a mark today was the message Mayank Agarwal got from seniors
That's what seniors told debutant Mayank Agarwal as the opener cracks an impressive 76 on Day One of Boxing Day Test in Melbourne; visitors 215-2
On his first day as a Test player, Mayank Agarwal ticked all the boxes. He showed great character in tiding over a tricky early period exacerbated by inevitable nerves, showcased his mastery over spin by taking on Nathan Lyon, and eased into the record books by dancing to 76, the highest score by an Indian debutant in Australia.
Neither the size of the Boxing Day crowd — 73,516, the most for a match involving India — nor the imposing setting of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or the fire of the Australian attack fazed the Karnataka opener, who batted with the confidence of a seasoned veteran. India finished Day One of the third Test here at 215 for two with Cheteshwar Pujara batting on 68 and skipper Virat Kohli on 47.
Agarwal's inclusion in the Test XI has come on the back of 13 months of rip-roaring form that has netted him well over 3,000 runs across formats. The first signs of approbation came when he was called up for the home Tests against the Windies, the ultimate reward arriving when Kohli presented him with the Test cap yesterday. "It was a tremendous feeling, I had a lot of emotions when I got the cap," the star of the day said.
"I will cherish it for the rest of my life. The first thought was 295 [the number on his Test cap]. I was very happy that I was going to represent my country. The seniors told me, the bigger the day, the bigger the opportunity to leave a mark. "I feel very, very special. I am very lucky because I made my debut at MCG. Every player has to go through scoring runs in Ranji Trophy and doing what he has to do. When you play Ranji Trophy for five years in all parts of India, you learn a lot. You face different situations, it's always a great learning."
Agarwal could have allowed self-pity to seize control when his mountain of runs didn't move the selectors, but he chose not to. "I was very happy when I got picked against West Indies. It was a big moment for me. From then on, it's not in my hand. You make sure you go out there and play your best. You are a professional and you tell yourself that's [selection] not something you can control. "Move ahead, move on and see what's next for you, prepare for that and once you are in, give your best," he added.
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