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IND vs NZ, 2nd Test: India tighten noose around Kiwis, lead by 332 runs

Despite New Zealand left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel’s historic 10-wicket haul, Team India bounced back in style to take a stranglehold on the second and final Test here at the Wankhede stadium, gaining a mammoth 332-run lead with no loss, on Saturday.

The Virat Kohli-led side wrested the initiative by bundling New Zealand for 62 in 28.1 overs in their first innings with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claiming 4-8 and Mohammed Siraj 3-19.

At the end of Day 2, the hosts were 69 for no loss in their second innings. Mayank Agarwal was batting on 38 with Cheteshwar Pujara, who opened the innings as Shubman Gill had suffered a blow to his right elbow while fielding, was batting on 29.

India may have tightened the noose around the Black Caps but the talk of the town was Ajaz Patel. The New Zealand spinner scripted history by scalping all ten wickets in an innings. He bowled beautifully by giving the ball a lot of revs, giving it enough air and getting a nice loop going.

With his figures of 10-119, Ajaz joined the likes of legends Jim Laker of England (1956) and India’s Anil Kumble (1999) to dismiss the entire opposing team single-handedly.

Laker claimed 10-53 against Australia at Old Trafford, while Kumble bagged 10-74 against Pakistan at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground in New Delhi. Incidentally, Ajaz plays for Yorkshire just like Laker, the first man to claim all-10 in an innings.

The Kiwis spinner, who had taken only 29 wickets in his previous 10 Tests, claimed four wickets on Friday, added two more to his tally in the morning session on the second day and then claimed four more wickets in the post-lunch session.

The 30-year-old Ajaz, who migrated from Mumbai to New Zealand when he was eight and made his Test debut against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2018, claimed his first four wickets for 73 runs and the next six for just 46 runs. He was on a hat-trick in his first over of the second day when he claimed Wriddhiman Saha and Ashwin off successive balls.

India, starting on overnight 221/4, were then bowled out for 325.

Ajaz’s brilliant effort overshadowed the fantastic 150-run knock by Indian opener Mayank Agarwal. In a 311-ball inning, he smashed 17 fours and four sixes. Agarwal, who was 120 overnight, added 30 runs to his total on Saturday but more importantly raised 67 runs for the seventh wicket with Axar Patel (52).

Chasing the total, the Kiwis’ meek surrender raised several eyebrows. The entire team got out for just 62 runs. This is the lowest-ever total by any team against India, the previous lowest being 79 by South Africa at Nagpur in 2015.

Siraj started the carnage for India as he claimed the first three wickets, the only pacer in this Test to get wickets. He bowled a beautiful line, kept the ball in the channel and disguised a straight one quite brilliantly to castle a batsman of the caliber of Ross Taylor.

Ashwin then took over as he bagged four wickets for eight runs. The entire New Zealand innings lasted just 128 minutes as only two batters — stand-in skipper Tom Latham (10) and bowler Kyle Jamieson (17) — could reach double figures. Three batsmen got out for zero.

India did not enforce the follow-on and scored 69 for no loss in their second innings with Mayank Agarwal batting on 38 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 29 at stumps.

Brief scores:

India 325 all out in 109.5 overs (Mayank Agarwal 150, Axar Patel 52, Shubman Gill 44, Ajaz Patel 10-119) & 69/0 in 21 overs (Agarwal batting 38, Pujara batting 29) v New Zealand 62 all out in 28.1 overs (Tom Lathan 10, Kyle Jamieson 17; R Ashwin 4-8, Mohd Siraj 3-19, Axar Patel 2-14).

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