Mayank Agarwal (120*) and Wriddhiman Saha (25*) resumed batting for India on day two of the second and final Test against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The duo started on from where India left overnight – 221 for 4 in 70 overs, before the hosts were bundled out for 325. This was followed by New Zealand being bowled out for 62 in their first innings, after which India finished the day with a second inning score of 69-0 before umpires called off play due to poor light. Eight overs still remained. Let us take a look at the important talking points from the day’s play.
Ajaz Patel’s 10 wickets
The biggest talking point from day two’s play has been Ajaz Patel’s incredible achievement. The spinner became only the third player in Test cricket history to claim all 10 wickets in an innings. The Kiwi international has joined England’s Jim Laker and India’s Anil Kumble to send back all the 10 players in a single innings. Ajaz picked up four wickets on day one, and continued his fine performance on the second day to take the remaining six wickets.
The Indian origin bowler ended with figures of 10 wickets for 119 runs in 47.5 overs, with his tenth and last victim being Mohammed Siraj, who was caught at mid-on.
Jim Laker had dismissed all 10 batters in the second innings of the fourth Test match against Australia in 1956 at the Old Trafford in England. The off break bowler, who passed away in 1986, had picked up 19 wickets in the match.
Former India captain Anil Kumble, on the other hand, picked all 10 wickets in the second Test match against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi. Kumble finished with figures of 10/74.
Interestingly, among the three bowlers, Ajaz is the only one to achieve the feat away from home. Laker did it in England and Kumble in India. But more interestingly, Mumbai, where Ajaz achieved the feat, is the birthplace of the New Zealander.
Ajaz has now also overtaken Richard Hadlee as the bowler with the best figures for New Zealand. Hadlee had taken 9 for 52 against Australia in 1985.
Mayank Agarwal’s magnificent innings
Opener Mayank Agarwal, who resumed batting on day two with an overnight score of 120, looked good for a double century before being sent back by Tom Blundell after lunch. After Patel removed Wriddhiman Saha (27) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0) off successive deliveries, Agarwal joined hands with Axar Patel to take India to 285 for six at lunch. While Agarwal was dismissed on 150, Axar walked back on 52 after scoring his maiden Test fifty. Agarwal showed a lot of patience as he added only 26 runs to his overnight score of 120 in the two hours that he batted. This is the fourth Test century for Agarwal; the third one came more than two years ago. The opening batter last scored a century in November 2019 when he translated his ton to a double century against Bangladesh in Indore.
Axar Patel’s wonderful run in Tests continues
While Axar did his job of wicket-taking, like he has been doing in all the games he has played since making his Test debut, he also proved his mettle with the bat in Mumbai. Coming in to bat at no. 7, Axar scored 52 off 128 balls and also built a good partnership with Mayank Agarwal which bailed India out of a possible quick collapse. He followed this with another good show with the ball, picking two wickets, of Daryl Mitchell and Kylie Jamieson respectively.
The 31-year-old has had an excellent start to his Test career. In just four Tests – minus the on-going one – Patel has 33 wickets to his name. This includes six wickets in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s brain fade moment
The veteran India off-spinner was involved in a funny moment on Saturday as he attempted to review his wicket after being clean bowled by Patel. Ashwin was quick to opt for a review before noticing that his bails had been dislodged. The incident happened in the 72nd over of India’s first innings when Ashwin thought he was caught behind instead of being clean bowled. This led to a meme fest on Twitter, and former India cricketer Akash Chopra also exclaimed while doing commentary “Ashwin ne bold ko review kiya!”
The brain fade aside, Ashwin was the best bowler for India in the first innings, bagging 4/8 in just 8 overs.
New Zealand bundled out for 62
In reply to India’s 325, the visitors were bowled out for just 62, which is now their lowest score against India in Test cricket history. Ashwin (4/19) and pacer Mohammed Siraj (3/19) shared seven wickets between them, while Kyle Jamieson top-scored for New Zealand with 17, and captain and opener Tom Latham (10) was the next highest scorer.
Here are the lowest totals against India in Tests:
62 – India vs New Zealand, Mumbai 2021
75 – India vs West Indies, Delhi 1987
76 – India v South Africa, Ahmedabad 2008
79 – South Africa v India, Nagpur 2015
India’s second innings in a wrap
For the second innings, Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara shared an unbeaten opening stand of 69 runs before stumps. While Agarwal scored 38 off 75, Pujara scored 29 off 51. The hosts now lead the visitors by 332 runs at stumps. Shubman Gill suffered a blow to his right elbow while fielding in the first innings and hence didn’t come out to bat in the second innings as a precautionary measure.
Overall, India ended the day on a strong note after a good comeback in the third and final session where they lost just one wicket for 110 runs.
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