Team India opener Mayank Agarwal put India on top at stumps on Day 1 of the second Test against New Zealand at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Spinner Ajaz Patel spun the web around India’s batting order to trigger a collapse but Mayank stood his ground strong to pull India back in the game with his magnificent century.
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. The Mumbai-born New Zealand spinner claimed four wickets to pull New Zealand back in the game after a solid 80-run opening stand between Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill.
Mayank returned to form at the right time as he led India’s fightback on Day 1. He was unbeaten on 120* alongside wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha 25* at stumps as India posted 221/4.
The morning session of the match was wiped off due to wet outfield after overnight heavy rain as Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first after his return to competitive cricket after a brief break. While Kohli came in place of injured and out of form vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who is out with hamstring niggle, off-spinner Jayant Yadav, playing his first test in nearly five years, came in place of Ravindra Jadeja, out with right forearm niggle. Ishant Sharma was also ruled out with Mohammed Siraj coming in his place.
Mayank and Shubman batted out the tricky initial phase of the day with some offensive approach. Shubman missed his well-deserved half-century and was dismissed on 44 by Ajaz.
Later, he struck twice in the same over to dismiss India’s captain Virat Kohli and number three Cheteshwar Pujara for ducks in the second Test on Friday, leaving the hosts 111-3 at tea.
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.
However, Mayank stood strong during the critical phase and shared a crucial 80-run stand alongside Shreyas Iyer who scored 18 runs before becoming the fourth victim of Ajaz.
Mayank then led India’s fightback alongside Wriddhiman Saha to stabilize the innings. Throughout his knock, Mayank played some powerful counter-attacking shots against the spinners to put them under pressure.