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IND v NZ, 2nd Test: Ashwin claims Latham as NZ reach 13/1 at tea (2nd ld)

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Mumbai, Dec 5 (IANS) Mayank Agarwal scored a half-century while Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Axar Patel struck some quick runs as India declared their second innings at 276/7 in 70 overs, setting New Zealand a target of 540 runs to score in over two days in the second and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.

They then came back to reduce New Zealand to 13/1 in 4 overs at tea, to further tighten their grip on the match.

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Off-spinner R Ashwin trapped New Zealand stand-in skipper Tom Latham for six runs with one that landed on the middle and went straight, catching the batsman plumb in front. Will Young was batting on seven with the next batter yet to come as the umpires took everyone in for tea.

Earlier, Mayank Agarwal scored 62 and shared a century partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara (47) while Shubman Gill (47) and Virat Kohli (36) added 82 runs for the third wicket as India went searching for quick runs.

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Axar Patel blasted an unbeaten 41 runs off 26 balls as India declared on 276/7, ending with a total lead of 539.

Agarwal, who struck a fantastic 150 in the first essay, added 102 runs for the first wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara as India continued to tighten their grip on the match. Agarwal, who came out with aggressive intent, hit Ajaz Patel for a couple of boundaries — an inside-out driver over extra cover for a boundary and a six to complete his half-century, being the most pleasing shots.

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He got a life when Ajaz Patel grassed a difficult chance off his own bowling. Patel had the last laugh when Agarwal (62 off 108 balls, 9×4, 1×6) took him on despite the presence of a fielder at long-off. Will Young pouched an easy one to give Ajaz his 11th wicket of the match.

The New Zealand left-armer, only the third bowler after Jim Laker of England and Anil Kumble of India to take all-10 wickets in an innings, made it all 12 when he induced a thick outside edge from Pujara with a nicely-flighted delivery that turned sharply.

Pujara prodded at it and Ross Taylor at first slip grabbed the catch just millimetres above the ground. The on-field umpires sought a review to ascertain that it was taken cleanly, which was confirmed by the TV umpire after a long and hard look at it.

Early in the morning, New Zealand pacer Tim Southee tested Agarwal and Pujara with some short balls. Agarwal was hit on his unprotected elbow when he tried to pull a short one and had to seek the services of physio Nitin Patel twice.

Gill struck some lusty blows as he raised 47 runs in 75 balls, hitting 4 fours and a six during his stay. He became Rachin Ravindra’s maiden Test victim, as he slashed at a delivery that stayed low and came slow off the track — Gill planted the ball into the hands of Tom Latham in covers for a simple catch.

Shreyas Iyer blasted a couple of big sixes but perished for 14 runs off eight balls, stumped by Tom Bludell off Ajaz Patel, foxed by the turn. Kohli was the next to go as he chopped one from Ravindra onto his stumps for 36 and the bowler claimed the third wicket of his career when Wriddhiman Saha tried to hoist the bowler over long on but could not connect properly. Kyle Jamieson ran back to take the catch near the boundary.

Axar Patel then slammed 16 runs off the next three balls bowled by Ravindra — a four followed by two sixes. Jayant Yadav blasted a six off Ajaz Patel but was out soon, becoming the 14th victim for the 30-year-old Mumbai-born bowler.

Ajaz continued to trouble the Indians as he claimed 4/106 runs in the second innings for an overall match haul of 14/225, the best match figures ever against India by any bowler anywhere.

The previous best was 13/106 by England’s Ian Botham at the same ground in 1980. Ajaz’s figures were the second-best bowling performance for New Zealand in Test cricket behind Richard Hadlee’s 15/123 against Australia at Brisbane in 1985. Ajaz bowled all his 73.5 overs in the match from the Tata End.

Brief scores: India 325 & 276/7 in 70 overs (Mayank Agarwal 62, Cheteshwar Pujara 47, Shubman Gill 47, Virat Kohli 36, Axar Patel 41 not out; Ajaz Patel 4/106, Rachin Ravindra 3/56) vs New Zealand 62 & 13/1 in 4 overs (Tom Latham 6; Ashwin 1/4).

–IANS

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