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Ind vs NZ, 2nd Test Day 3 Talking Points: India continues its dominance

After declaring on 276 for 7, India brought down New Zealand to 140 for 5 at stumps on Day 3. The visitors now need 400 runs to win the match with five wickets remaining. Let us look at all the big talking points from Day 3 of the second Test between India and New Zealand in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Mayank Agarwal’s half-century

After scoring a stunning century in the first innings, opener Mayank Agarwal scored a half-century in the second innings. He brought up his fifty on day 3 with a big six over extra cover off Ajaz Patel’s bowling. Mayank looked confident for another century, but eventually had to depart after scoring 62 off 108.

Mayank is now the fourth Indian opener to score two fifty-plus knocks in a Test in Mumbai. He joined the likes of Chetan Chauhan (52, 84 in 1978), Sunil Gavaskar (205, 73 in 1978) and Kris Srikkanth (71, 65 in 1987).

Ahead of the Test series against New Zealand, Mayank’s inclusion in the playing XI was doubtful after a string of inconsistent performances in the last two years. However, the Karnataka batter made the most of the opportunity this time around, and is all but confirmed to travel with Team India to South Africa later this month.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s century drought

While Cheteshwar Pujara played an important role in the second innings, sharing a 107-run partnership for the first wicket with Agarwal, his drought of centuries is something that has got people talking. On Day 3, Pujara scored 47 before being sent back by Ajaz Patel. One of the best red-ball players, Pujara has not been able to score a century in his last 42 innings. His last three-figure mark was the 193 he hit in Sydney in January 2019 against Australia.

Former India batter VVS Laxman, speaking on Star Sports, said that Pujara failing to convert his starts into a three-figure score is a worry for Team India in the longest format of the game. He further highlighted that batters batting at no. 3 get a lot more opportunities to score a century than those batting lower down the order.

Even though Pujara has not played a match-winning innings for India in the last few days, he is likely to travel with the team to South Africa for the experience he brings to the table.

Ajaz Patel breaks 41-year-old record

After a historic second day of the Test where Ajaz Patel became the only third player in the history of Test cricket to take 10 wickets in an innings, the spinner achieved another big feat on Day 3. Patel followed up his 10-wicket haul with four wickets in the second Test, ending with figures of 14/227. These are now the best bowling figures against India in Test cricket, with the previous best having come 41 years ago by England’s Ian Botham, who took 13 wickets in innings, while conceding 106 runs.  The third best bowling figures against India are by Australia’s Steve O’Keefe, who picked up 12 wickets for 70 runs in Pune in 2017, while the fourth-best are by Pakistan’s Fazal Mahmood, who registered 12-94 in Lucknow in 1952.

Ajaz’s 14/227 is now also the second-best figures by a New Zealand bowler in the history of Test cricket. The record for the best figures is currently held by Richard Hadlee, who took 15 wickets against Australia in 1985.

In the second innings on Day 3, Patel took four wickets, ending with figures of 4/106.

Captain Kohli chooses against enforcing a follow-on

After India bundled out New Zealand for just 62, with them being 263 behind, most followers of the game thought that India captain Virat Kohli would enforce a follow-on. But Kohli’s decision to not enforce a follow-on surprised many, and questions were raised on social media. However, VVS Laxman explained Kohli’s move, saying that with the South Africa Test series around the corner, the India captain would have wanted his troop to get some runs and confidence. Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, on the other hand, feels that Kohli opted against a follow-on to manage his bowlers’ workload. India declared their second innings at 276/7 to set New Zealand a victory target of 540.

Axar Patel’s consistent contributions

First with the ball, now with the bat. All-rounder Axar Patel has been delivering for India in each of the five Test matches he has played since his debut. After scoring a half-century in the first innings, Axar scored 41 runs in the second innings. Those 41 came in only 26 balls at a strike rate of 157.69. Shreyas Iyer also played a quick, although short-lived knock, in which he hit two back to back sixes before having to walk back on 14.

Daryl Mitchell’s half-century

New Zealand ended the day on 140 for 5 wickets, with Daryl Mitchell top-scoring with a knock of 60 runs. Captain Tom Latham scored only 6, while his opening partner Will Young departed on 20. Veteran batter Ross Taylor failed again, managing only six runs. Apart from Mitchell, the only other significant contribution came from Henry Nicholls, who is unbeaten on 36. Ravi Ashwin picked up three wickets, while Axar chipped in with one. New Zealand now need 400 runs to win with five wickets remaining. 

Also read: IPL 2022 retention – Full List of Players Retained by Each IPL Franchise

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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