Team India opener Mayank Agarwal pull India back on the game on Day 1 of the second Test match against New Zealand at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. The visitors managed to trigger a mini-collapse of a three-wicket burst in 10 balls by Ajaz Patel, but Mayank slammed a gritty century to pull them back in the game. Mayank was unbeaten on 120 at stumps alongside Wriddhiman Saha at stumps as India posted 221/4. The morning session of the match was wiped off due to a wet outfield after overnight heavy rain. Skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first after his return to competitive cricket after a short break.
Mayank Agarwal Returns to Form, the talented India opener has ended his 2-year-long century drought on Friday as he reached the triple-figure mark last time in November 2019 when he converted his ton to a double hundred against Bangladesh in Indore. After failing to capitalize on the opportunity in the first Test where he was 13 and 17 in absence of regular openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, Mayank returned to form at the perfect time to lead India fightback against a quality bowling unit. He shared several crucial partnerships with other batters to stabilize India’s innings.
Mayank has a good record of converting the century into a big score and he will look to emulate the same on Saturday. Ayaz Patel Spun Web, spinner Ajaz Patel spun the web around India’s batting order to give New Zealand an edge over hosts in the middle overs. Ajaz was the standout bowler of the day and also the only one who got his name on the scoreboard with wickets under his kitty. He started troubling India by breaking a solid 80-run opening stand between Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill. He later struck twice in the same over to dismiss India’s captain Virat Kohli and number three Cheteshwar Pujara for ducks. While in-form Shreyas Iyer (18) was his last victim.
Virat Kohli’s Controversial Dismissal, on his return after a brief break, Kohli failed to open his account as he was adjourned LBW on Ajaz Patel’s delivery. However, the dismissal raised several eyebrows as Kohli decided to take the review and the replay showed that the ball hitting the bat first. But the third umpire Virender Sharma felt that the evidence was inconclusive and asked the on-field umpire, Anil Chaudhary, to stick to his decision. The Indian skipper wasn’t happy with the decision as he had a chat with umpire Chaudhary before leaving the ground, he also slammed the bat to the ground.
The TV cameras then caught him standing in the dressing room balcony, visibly upset with the decision, which was a touch-and-go one. Cheteshwar Pujara’s Rough Patch Continues, Pujara’s rough patch continues as he was dismissed on a duck in the first innings as his stay in the middle was cut short by Ajaz Patel. The Test specialist faced just five balls in the innings as the century drought continues for him. He last reached a triple-figure mark way back in January 2019. In the first match, he scored 22 and 26 as the pressure is now mounting on him to perform and save his place in the playing XI as some talented young players are in queue knocking on the doors.
The Karnataka opener, who has scored two double centuries in Tests so far, highlighted that the first session on Saturday will be crucial. “It’s going to be very important, how we start is crucial, the focus is that. The first session we want to play it out, the wicket is going to get harder and harder to bat on,” he said, adding the pitch was helping those who were giving the ball a lot of revs. On completing his hundred with a four, Agarwal said, “It’s an amazing feeling to get a century in Test cricket, and to get it in Wankhede is extra special.”