Why Mayank Agarwal is the biggest positive from India’s Test series win in Australia
India wrapped up a well-deserved Test series victory against Australia on their home soil for the first time after 71 years of elusive quest, when the fifth day’s play was washed out due to rain.
Despite the slight disappointment of being denied by rain for another comprehensive Test victory in Sydney, there is a lot to be satisfied with and happy about, for this historic series win.
There have been many positives for India from this series. It is a team game and every member contributed in some way for the eventual outcome. However, there are some players who stand out for their special contributions.
Cheteshwar Pujara deservedly got the Man of the Series award for his consistent batting performances. He got three hundreds in difficult conditions. His first hundred at Adelaide was especially important as it rescued the Indian team from a precarious condition and set the tone for the series.
Though Kohli had a below par series, he did contribute to the team’s cause, especially at Perth. A case can be made that had he not been given wrongly out there, he could have altered the course of the game there.
The bowling unit did a fantastic job of taking twenty wickets in each of the first three tests, and would have done the same in Sydney had the weather not intervened. Though Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers, Shami and Ishant supported him well. The spinners too pitched in as well. Ashwin at Adelaide, Jadeja at MCG and Kuldeep at Sydney bowled extremely well.
The young Rishabh Pant too did quite well with the bat. Though he set the record of most dismissals in a test series by a wicket-keeper, his wicket-keeping is still a work in progress and he will certainly need to work more on that front.
However, the biggest positive for India from this series is certainly the emergence of Mayank Agarwal as a dependable opening batsman. After the disastrous shows by India’s openers, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, in the first two tests, India brought in Agarwal. He made an immediate impact with his gritty batting in both the innings.
It’s not just that he scored nearly 200 runs in the three innings that he got to play, but the manner in which he took to the opposition attack, and the confidence he displayed against both pace and spin, augurs well for India.
When Prithvi Shaw comes back from injury, one may see the emergence of an exciting opening partnership for India in the Test match format, which may serve India well for years to come.