New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel had an astounding day at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday as he claimed all 10 wickets in an innings to restrict India to 325 in the first innings of the second Test match. But the Kiwis failed to build on the Mumbai-born spinner’s heroics as it collapsed to 62 all out, allowing India to take firm control of the match.
Agarwal, whose 150 rescued India in the first innings, kept the momentum going in the second innings, while Pujara -- promoted as an opener after Shubman Gill suffered a blow to his right elbow while fielding in the first innings -- looked at ease against the New Zealand bowling attack. This innings – ahead of India's tour of South Africa -- is crucial for Pujara, who has struggled with the bat for a while.
Earlier, while the other New Zealand bowlers struggled to make an impact, Patel put the Indian batters in a spin as the host team lost two early wickets - Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin - after resuming the day on 221-4. Patel, however, was denied the hat-trick by Axar Patel (52; 128b), who stitched a 67-run stand for the seventh wicket with Agarwal to keep India on course for a fighting total. But after the dismissal of Axar and Agarwal, Patel furrowed the tail, reaching an incredible milestone to join England's Jim Laker (vs Australia in 1956) and Anil Kumble (vs Pakistan in 1999) in the ‘Perfect 10’ club.
Things, however, soon turned sour for his team.
On a surface that offered plenty of assistance to the spinners, Ashwin claimed four wickets after fast bowler Mohammed Siraj bagged three earlier. Coming in as a replacement for the injured Ishant Sharma, Siraj breathed fire early in the innings, removing Will Young for just four. He followed it up with the scalps of stand-in skipper Tom Latham (10) and Ross Taylor (1). A while later, Axar sent Daryl Mitchell packing for eight, and then Ashwin started toying with the visiting side.
As the Indian bowlers tightened the noose, New Zealand, which was missing its regular captain and key batter Kane Williamson, failed to build a steady partnership, resulting in an embarrassing collapse. Kyle Jamieson top-scored with 17.
Folding up for the lowest-ever Test score in India - the previous, India’s 75 against the West Indies in Delhi in 1987 - also dented the team’s hopes of clinching a Test series in India.