India stretch lead past 400, New Zealand’s Ajaz takes tally to 12

MUMBAI: Spinner Ajaz Patel remained New Zealand’s only wicket-taker in the second and final test at the Wankhede Stadium, but India strengthened their grip on the contest, extending their lead past 400 runs on the third day on Sunday.

A day after becoming only the third bowler to pick up all 10 wickets in an innings, the Mumbai-born Ajaz picked up two more in India’s second innings to take his match tally to 12.

But it was not enough to trouble the hosts, as India reached 142 for two at the lunch break, stretching their overall lead to 405 against the reigning world test champions.

Regular opening batter Shubman Gill, who did not bat at his usual position on Saturday after suffering a blow to his right elbow while fielding, was unbeaten on 17 with India captain Virat Kohli 11 not out.

The target for New Zealand, on a track offering plenty of assistance for the spinners, appear already out of reach with the touring side managing just 62 in their first innings in reply to India’s 325.

India would, however, want to leave enough time for their bowlers to dismiss New Zealand again after the opening test in Kanpur ended in a thrilling draw, with the touring side’s last batting pair hanging on in the final session.

Resuming the third day on 69-0, Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara extended their opening stand to 107 before Ajaz sent the former back.

Agarwal was out caught but not before he added a confident 62 to his first innings score of 150. Pujara also looked set for a half-century after failing to score in his last knock but was out caught in the slip for 47.

There was once again not much support for Ajaz from his bowling colleagues though the pacemen restricted the Indian batters from scoring freely with a line aimed at their body from around the wicket.