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IND vs NZ, 2nd Test, Day 1: Mayank Agarwal's 120* helps India to 221/4 at Stumps, despite Ajaz Patel's 4/73

05:31 PM Dec 03, 2021 | S. Sudarshanan

It has been a week of Agarwals!

Parag Agrawal was announced the CEO of Twitter at the start of the week. On Friday, it was Mayank Agarwal’s ton that helped India end Day 1 of the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai slightly ahead, after another middle order collapse.

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Different spelling, same pronunciation, similar impact – setting tongues wagging.

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A city that never sleeps went into a brief slumber. Partly because of the delayed start due to wet outfield and partly because Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill made batting look easy on a track that has lot of runs. But it took a Mumbaikar from New Zealand to infuse life into the Wankhede Stadium with a three-wicket burst in the middle of the second session.

Ajaz Patel’s triple strike in the post-Lunch session, the first of the day, put New Zealand in the driver’s seat before India wrestled control through Agarwal and Wriddhiman Saha.

The start of the day was delayed due to wet outfield. The lead up to the Test was marred with unseasonal rains that hampered preparations. A couple of hours of delay saw Lunch being taken early after which India opted to bat.

With Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma being ruled out, minutes before the start, captain Virat Kohli, Jayant Yadav and Mohammed Siraj came in. New Zealand were led by stand-in captain Tom Latham in place of Kane Williamson, who had aggravated his left elbow injury.

India had a strong start, thanks to Agarwal and Shubman Gill. The opening pair added 80 runs for the opening wicket, with the latter scoring freely. A rush of blood resulted in Gill’s wicket, though. Having survived a stumping chance on the previous ball, Gill pushed at a fullish ball from Patel to be caught by Ross Taylor at slip for 44.

Patel then sent back Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli for ducks in the space of four balls to push India to 80 for three. The hosts had lost three wickets for no runs in 15 balls.

Local lad Shreyas Iyer then stitched another 80-run partnership with Agarwal, who was slowly finding his feet. He attacked spinners including Patel, bringing up his fifty with a glide through wide third man off Rachin Ravindra.

However, Patel’s disciplined lines coupled with the bounce at the Wankhede meant than an inside edge off Iyer’s prod landed in the wicket-keeper’s mitts. The New Zealander from Mumbai, Patel, had picked up his fourth wicket and India yet again seemed to be falling well short thanks to their middle order.

But in Wriddhiman Saha, Agarwal found an ally, which meant that the hosts didn’t lose another wicket in the day. Agarwal helped himself to a fantastic fourth Test hundred, his first since his double ton against Bangladesh in 2019, ensuring India finish the day at 221 for four.

Brief Scores: India 221/4 (Mayank Agarwal 120*; Ajaz Patel 4/73) vs New Zealand

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