Former Australia captain Michael Clarke was impressed with India's debutant opener Mayank Agarwal, who scored a brilliant 76 on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne on Wednesday. Clarke praised Agarwal's intent against Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon and termed his knock as 'unbelievable'.
"The standout for me [the way he batted against Lyon]. Firstly you give a guy his debut and he scores 76, unbelievable performance but it was his intent against Nathan Lyon. I actually think he has shown the other Indian batsmen how to put Nathan Lyon under pressure," Clarke said on Sony Sports during the post-tea show.
3rd Test: Expecting an aggressive Sehwag-like innings from Mayank Agarwal at MCG, says coach Irfan Sait
"He made Lyon bowl majority of his overs from around the wicket, which Nathan would prefer to bowl over. He has been able to bowl over in the first two Test matches so because of his [Agarwal] intent as he opened up scoring on both sides of the wicket," he added.
The 27-year-old Bengaluru-born Agarwal provided the base with a confident half-century before Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Puyara steered India to a solid 215/2 on day one of the third Test against Australia.
"I like the fact that he has earned the right to be called for the Indian team and that only shows how India keep producing class batsman again and again. You need guys who score a bulk of runs away from international cricket to knock the doors and then he has shown he can be good in international cricket as well," Clarke said.
Agarwal missed out on scoring a hundred on Test debut but grabbed the opportunity with both hands. His 76 came off 161 balls with eight shots to the fence and one over it.
During his knock, he became only the second Indian to make a 50-plus score on debut on Australian soil after Dattu Phadkar (51) at SCG in Dec 1947.
Overall, he became the seventh Indian batsman to score a half-century on Test debut. He fell at the stroke of tea, caught down the leg side to be second victim of paceman Pat Cummins.