Saturday, 29 January, 2022

Kiwi spinner Ajaz gets 14-for but India on brink of victory

India need another five wickets to win the second Test as New Zealand chase an improbable 540 despite the Kiwis' Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel returning a record 14-225 on Sunday.

New Zealand ended day three on 140-5 after the hosts declared their second innings, after left-arm spinner Ajaz, who took 10 wickets in an innings, put up best-ever match figures by a bowler against India.

The previous best was England fast bowler Ian Botham's 13-106 in Mumbai in 1980.

Henry Nicholls, on 36, and Rachin Ravindra, on two, were batting after Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin (3-27) and Axar Patel rattled the New Zealand top-order. Ashwin struck first with the wicket of stand-in skipper Tom Latham for 10 and then took down Will Young and Ross Taylor in successive overs. Daryl Mitchell resisted and raised his third Test fifty with a boundary off fast bowler Umesh Yadav. He put on 73 runs with Nicholls for the fourth wicket.

Mitchell finally fell to Axar's left-arm spin and wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell was run out on nought as a raucous home crowd roared.

Earlier Ajaz extended his bowling show for New Zealand with Ravindra joining his fellow spinner for three wickets including Shubman Gill (47) and skipper Virat Kohli (36).

Axar hit an unbeaten 41 before India called off their innings in the second session at 276-7, with New Zealand already a wicket down by tea.

The hosts did not enforce the follow on Saturday after they dismissed New Zealand for 62 and batted about two sessions, but Axar insisted they needed batting time.