India axe opening pair for Boxing Day Test

Elena Summers
December 27, 2018

INDIA'S two best batsmen are threatening to grind Australia's star-studded attack into submission, having easily piloted the tourists to 2-277 at lunch on day two of the third Test.

Debutant Mayank Agarwal hit 76 as India took early control of the third Test against Australia in Melbourne.

Sharma scored his half century later on in the day as India went on to cross 400-run mark in the first innings at MCG.

They stitched an unbeaten 92-run stand for the third wicket. In Perth, he took a dig at Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli.

He slogswept Lyon for six after the drinks break before eventually falling to Cummins at 123 for two.

India vs Australia, Live Score, Latest Updates, 3rd Test: Kohli drives the ball towards cover, but is intercepted inside the circle that denies him the single that he has been looking for quite some time now. The young Indian keeper top edged a short ball and sent one flying in the air to Usman Khawaja at point, gifting Starc his second wicket of the innings as he finished with 2-87.

Rohit Sharma ended on 63 not out off 114 balls, inclusive of five fours, while Pat Cummins was the pick of the Australian bowlers, taking 3/72 in a back-breaking effort of 34 overs.

Vihari, promoted to replace the out-of-sorts Lokesh Rahul, had a less successful debut as a test opener, and was dismissed for eight off 66 balls by a short delivery that reared up and pinged off his gloves before being caught by slip fielder Aaron Finch.

Cummins also removed Agarwal, caught behind down the leg side.

Pujara, who has scored more runs and faced more balls than any other batsman in the series, was 68 not out overnight and continued slowly to build on his total. Lyon, who was the hosts' key bowler in the previous match, didn't look as effective for he could hardly get any purchase from the track. The pacer picked himself up though and three balls later he had Agarwal as Australia got a boost going into tea.

India (XI): Virat Kohli (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami.

The four-match series is poised at 1-1, after Australia won the second match in Perth.

There's simply no sugar-coating it, the first two days of the Boxing Day Test have been an absolute snoozefest.

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