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NZ’s batting collapse takes shine off Ajaz’s perfect-10


Ajaz Patel had an astounding outing at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday as he claimed all 10 wickets in an innings to restrict India to 325 in the first innings. But New Zealand failed to capitalise on the Mumbai-born spinnerโ€™s heroics as it collapsed to 62 all out, allowing India to take firm control of the second Test.

With three more days of action remaining, India ended the day at 69-0 – with Mayank Agarwal (38, 75b) and Cheteshwar Pujara (29, 51b) remaining unbeaten. As the New Zealand bowlers struggled to make inroads in the second innings, India took a mammoth lead of 332 runs.

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Agarwal, whose fascinating 150 rescued India in the first innings, kept the momentum going in the second innings, while Pujara – who was 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 is crucial for Pujara, who has not been among runs for quite a while, ahead of Indiaโ€™s tour of South Africa.

While India gained upper hand in the Test, Patel would be disappointed to see his iconic effort going in vain at the end of the day’s play. The 33-year-old left-armerย emulated England’s Jim Laker (vs Australia in 1956) and Anil Kumble (vs Pakistan in 1999) to complete his โ€˜perfect 10โ€™.

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While no other New Zealand bowler could make an impact, Patel put 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 towards a fighting total. But after the dismissal of Axar and Agarwal, Patel furrowed the tail, thus reaching an incredible milestone.

Things, however, took a turn.

On a surface that offered plenty of assistance to spinners, Ashwin claimed four wickets and fast bowler Mohammed Siraj bagged three, leaving the Black Caps wanting. 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 two more – stand-in skipper Tom Latham (10) and Ross Taylor (1). A while later, Axar sent Daryl Mitchell packing for eight, and was joined by Ashwin, who toyed 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 runs, before being the last batter to be dismissed by Axar.

Folding up for the lowest-ever Test score in India – the previous being Indiaโ€™s 75 against the West Indies in Delhi in 1987 – also dented the teamโ€™s hopes of clinching a Test series in India.

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