KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been long-time friends and opened for India in the Sydney test against Australia on Thursday.

In a first Ktaka Ranji teammates KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal open for India in TestsKL Rahul via Twitter
news Sport Thursday, January 03, 2019 - 14:36

As India's opening batsmen walked out to bat in the fourth test match in Sydney on the cricket team's tour of Australia, there was cause for celebration back home. Long-time friends and Karnataka Ranji teammates, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, took guard against the Australian pace attack.

This was the first time that both Indian opening batsmen came from Karnataka, and it came about after contrasting fortunes for the two batsmen.

The duo rose through the ranks playing for the Karnataka Ranji team from 2010. While both batsmen caught the eye for their array of strokes and big scores for their state team, it was Mayank who first rose to fame for his performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) while Rahul flew under the radar.

However, fortunes turned quickly enough after Rahul made his Test debut against Australia in 2014 even as Mayank continued to flit in and out of the Karnataka Ranji team. Rahul went on to make his one-day international (ODI) debut, scored a hundred in a T20 International and scored an impressive 149 in a test match against England at The Oval last year, to cement his place in the Indian team. 

But of late, Rahul has struggled to replicate that form in Tests with scores of 0, 4, 33*, 2, 44, 2, 0, 9. This has forced the Indian team management to scout for other options at the top of the order. It prompted the team management to draft in Mayank Agarwal into the squad and reward him with a Test debut against Australia in the third test of the ongoing series, exactly four years after Rahul made his breakthrough, albeit at the expense of Rahul. 

Mayank repaid the faith of the selectors by scoring 76 and 42, helping India to victory in Melbourne. However, it appeared that the duo had missed out on the possibility of opening the innings together for India.

"Seeing my Best Friend getting his cap and debuting for the Country makes me so Happy and Proud today. Upwards and Onwards my brother, you’re just getting started Monkus," Rahul had tweeted on the eve of the third test on December 26. 

But after Rohit Sharma had to leave the squad for personal reasons, the door opened again for Rahul to come back into the team and this time he walked out to bat alongside a familiar face in Mayank. 

Off the pitch, the two batsmen remain close friends and their bromance was on show at Mayank's wedding in July last year.

But on the pitch, the pair lasted just nine deliveries on Thursday morning as Rahul was dismissed for 6 runs, continuing his poor form. Mayank meanwhile impressed again scoring a fluent 77 before being dismissed by Nathan Lyon.

With Rohit Sharma set to come back into the team and 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw waiting in the wings, it remains to be seen if the opening pair of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal will get more opportunities for India in the future. 

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