Maynak Agarwal lost opportunity to score a hundred on Test debut as India reached 123 for two at tea on the opening day of the third match against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Bangalore-born Agarwal (76) was out in dramatic fashion, caught behind for 76 on the last ball before tea, after gloving a short delivery from Pat Cummins to wicketkeeper Tim Paine. The patient Agarwal hit eight fours and one six off 161 deliveries.
Overall, he became the seventh Indian batsman to score a half-century on Test debut.
Adelaide Test hero Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 33 and will be joined by skipper Virat Kohli when the final session of the day will begin after the break.
The pitch turned out to be a batting beauty as there was good bounce and carry for the batsmen. The Australian pacers had to bend their back to get the Kookaburra ball to rise sharply.
Agarwal hit a stylish off-drive to the boundary from the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon to register his maiden half-century from 95 balls, including six fours. The right-hander showed some flair as he moved his score to 63 by thumping a six over long-on from the bowling of Lyon as India's batsmen started to play more attacking shots in the post-lunch session.
Agarwal dominated an opening stand of 40 with Hanuma Vihari. Struck on the helmet by a bouncer from Cummins on three, Vihari added just five runs to his total before backing away and edging a simple catch to second slip off another short ball from the same bowler.
India chose to bat first in sunny conditions on a pitch that had a covering of grass but offered little bounce and carry for the pace bowlers.
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Agarwal's innings is also the second highest score by an Indian opener making his debut in an away Test.
Agarwal's 76 is behind Sudhir Naik's score of 77 which came against England in Birmingham in 1974.
Agarwal has earned his place by sheer weight of runs in domestic cricket as well as for India A.
He scored a triple-hundred and three centuries along with four fifties in last year's Ranji Trophy at an astonishing average of 76.46, scoring 1003 runs.
(With PTI Inputs)