India v New Zealand Test - Men's
Agarwal ton rescues India after Kohli's controversial exit
New Zealand's Mumbai-born spinner Ajaz Patel took all four wickets but it was the lbw dismissal of Virat Kohli for a duck that proved the day's biggest talking point
4 December 2021, 07:42 AM AEST
India opener Mayank Agarwal has hit a gritty hundred to rescue the hosts after New Zealand left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel had put them in a spot of bother with three quick wickets on the weather-hit first day of the second and final Test.
Agarwal was left unbeaten on 120 after completing his fourth Test hundred on Friday to help India reach 4-221 at stumps with wicketkeeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha keeping him company on 25 not out at the Wankhede Stadium.
Mumbai-born Patel, whose parents immigrated to New Zealand in 1996, picked up all four wickets on a track that aided the spinners as he finished with figures of 4-73.
After the first session was wiped out due to a wet outfield, Agarwal and Shubman Gill gave their side a solid start with an opening stand of 80 following captain Virat Kohli's decision to bat having winning the toss.
Patel gave New Zealand the breakthrough by dismissing Gill for 44 when the batter edged a delivery to the lone slip.
The 33-year-old Patel returned in his next over to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli before they had opened their accounts, much to the disappointment of the few hundred fans present at the ground which overlooks the Arabian Sea.
Kohli, who returned to the side to lead India after being rested for the three-match Twenty20 series and the first Test in Kanpur, reviewed the leg before wicket decision unsuccessfully and trudged off after a chat with the on-field umpires.
Television replays were inconclusive in showing if he had hit the ball before Patel's delivery struck his pad, with it appearing simultaneous.
This is simply - not out !!!!! We often discuss technology & its use / accuracy. The main problem@is the interpretation of the technology. Here’s a perfect example of the ball clearly hitting the edge of the bat first. https://t.co/OATRzIHcfg— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 4, 2021
"This is what dreams are made of. To be out here and pick up four wickets on the first day is pretty special," said the 33-year-old Patel.
"At the same time, the job is only half done. So we have got to make sure we turn up tomorrow and really work hard for the last six wickets."
Ajaz didn't receive much support from his fellow two spinners, who went for 66 runs off their 12 overs, but he revealed that one of them, Rachin Ravindra, had been unwell.
"Everyone was out there working hard and poor old Rachin came down with a bug this morning," Ajaz said.
"He fought his way out there throughout the day. It is pretty impressive from the young man to be able to stick it out. It really shows his character."
Tomorrow is a new day. We start fresh, and we go again. It is just about bowling in partnerships. I am sure we will turn up tomorrow."
From 80 for no loss, India were reduced to 3-80 and it was left to Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer, who made a dream Test debut in Kanpur with a first-innings 105 followed by a crucial 65 in the second, to launch the fightback for the hosts.
The duo added 80 for the fourth wicket to rebuild the innings before Iyer fell on 18 to become Patel's fourth scalp.
The dismissal brought Agarwal and Saha together and the pair defied New Zealand's bowlers for the rest of the day with an unbroken partnership of 61.
A square-driven four off seamer Daryl Mitchell took Agarwal to three figures , leaving the 30-year-old to leap and punch the air to celebrate his first Test ton since he scored a career-best 243 against Bangladesh in 2019.
"It's an amazing feeling to get a century in Test cricket and to get it in Wankhede is extra special," said Agarwal.
"How we start (tomorrow) 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."
The right-hander hit 14 fours and four sixes in his knock.
Both sides had been dealt injury blows before the Test with the tourists losing captain Kane Williamson to an elbow problem while the hosts were without Ajinkya Rahane, who led the side in Kanpur in Kohli's absence, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma.
The opening Test had ended in a thrilling draw with New Zealand's last pair hanging on in the final session to deny the hosts victory.
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