Ajaz Patel’s 10-for shouldn’t be a total shock from a player on his way to becoming New Zealand’s best after Vettori

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Modified Dec 5, 2021 2:04 AM IST

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New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel became the third bowler in Test history to take 10 wickets in an innings as he dismissed India in his birth city of Mumbai. Left-arm Patel – who emigrated with his family as a child – matched the feat of India off-spinner Anil Kumble against Pakistan in Delhi in 1999 and England off-spinner Jim Laker against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956. Patel’s milestone moment came when India tailender Mohammed Siraj top-edged a slog-sweep to Rachin Ravindra on the second afternoon of the second Test at Wankhede Stadium.

Patel finished with 10-119 from 47.5 overs as India were all out for 325 in 109.5 overs in their first innings – before New Zealand were skittled for just 62 in 28.1 overs in reply to concede a first-innings deficit of 263, which India increased to 332 by stumps. Siraj (3-19) dismissed three of the top four Black Caps batters, including Ross Taylor (1), while Ravichandran Ashwin snared 4-8 as only Tom Latham (10) and Kyle Jamieson (17) reached double figures. Mayank Agarwal (38*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (39*) guided India to 69-0 at the close, with the hosts now well on course to win the game and take the two-match series 1-0. Patel’s first-innings victims included Virat Kohli, Pujara, and Ravichandran Ashwin for ducks, as well as top-scorer Agarwal (150) and namesake Axar Patel (52).

IND vs NZ: Ajaz Patel takes 'Perfect 10' but India bowl out New Zealand for  62 to inch towards massive win | Cricket - Hindustan Times
Credits: Hindustan Times

Speaking after his 10-wicket haul, Patel said: “It is pretty surreal. I don’t think you ever really believe that you are going to achieve something like that, so to do it is pretty special. I am in an illustrious company. “I think I am very fortunate. The stars have aligned for me to have an occasion like that here in Mumbai, the place I was born. It was quite a special occasion for me and my family. “It was about finding a good rhythm and being repetitive, asking good questions of the batters.” Ashwin was out next delivery, bowled off stump by a beauty that spun just enough to pass the bat, as India slipped to 224-6.

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Patel savours despite New Zealand collapse

Agarwal then departed shortly after reaching 150 for the third time in Tests as Patel had him caught behind to leave India 291-7 and the bowler sensing a 10-wicket haul. Axar – who added 67 with Agarwal for the eighth wicket – become Patel’s eighth victim when he was out leg before following a successful New Zealand review. When Jayant Yadav (12) holed out to long-off, Patel was on the brink of history and there were then wild celebrations when the bowler dismissed Siraj to join the illustrious 10-wicket club. Patel was on song to record the best figures for New Zealand in Test cricket, but his efforts could be in a losing cause after his side were shot out for 62.

He had been at the wicket to save the previous Test on day five, and Patel was once again in the thick of the action in the city of his birth, Mumbai. Patel says that he will savor the special day despite the batting failures. “Personally I think it’s one of the greatest cricketing days of my life and probably will always be,” Patel told reporters. “From the team perspective, it’s obviously tough. But we still have more Test cricket left. We got to make sure we front up tomorrow and scrap as much as we can.

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Credits: The Indian Express

“We are on the back foot, but we got to come back here tomorrow and make sure we work as hard as possible to see how we can turn this game around or eke out something special.” “Ajaz really bowled well. It was extraordinary bowling by him. My plan was to put pressure on him but unfortunately, I got out,” said Siraj. Siraj credits diligent training with helping him hit the areas to trouble the New Zealand top order. “After I got injured (in the first New Zealand Twenty20 last month) when I started training, I did a lot of single wicket bowling with an aim to get as much swing as possible,” said Siraj.

“That was my focus and when I would get the chance in a Test match, I had to consistently hit one area and that’s what will help me build my rhythm.” India was 332 ahead by stumps at the Wankhede Stadium after not enforcing the follow-on and reaching 69 for 0 in their second innings.