Mayank Agarwal slams ton to take India to 221/4 against New Zealand on day one of 2nd Test

Mayank Agarwal remained unbeaten on 120 on the first day of the second Test in Mumbai

Mayank Agarwal remained unbeaten on 120 to take India to a strong total of 221/4 against New Zealand on the first day of the second and final Test match being played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Agarwal’s century was the only bright spot for India on the opening day of the series decider in which their middle order flopped once again.

India made three changes to their playing eleven as Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja made way for Virat Kohli, Jayant Yadav and Mohammed Siraj. All three players who missed out on the selection for the second Test were said to be suffering from various injuries. 

According to the Indian cricket board, Ishant dislocated his left little finger during the fifth and final day of the opening Test match of the series at Kanpur, Rahane was suffering from a minor left hamstring strain whereas Jadeja suffered a right forearm injury in Kanpur. 

It was Virat Kohli who won the toss and elected to bat while no play was possible in the first session of the play day owing to a wet outfield at the Wankhede Stadium. The Indian openers Agarwal and Shubman Gill started brilliantly, adding 80 runs from 27.3 overs to provide their team with a strong start.

New Zealand fast bowlers Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson were not as effective with the new ball as they were in Kanpur in both the innings. It was the left-arm spinner in Ajaz Patel who provided India with a lot of headache in the middle of the day as he claimed the wickets of Shubman Gill (44), Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and Kohli (0). 

While Gill was caught behind by wicket-keeper Tom Blundell on a delivery from Ajaz Patel that turned sharply away from him, Pujara danced down the wicket to miss the ball as it hit the wickets after deflecting from his pads. India captain Kohli was given a controversial decision when a visible inside edge went on to hit the pads but the third umpire stuck with the decision of the on-field umpire for leg-before, despite the DRS review suggesting otherwise.

From 80/0, India had slipped to 80/3 at one stage but Shreyas Iyer, who was dismissed for a 41 ball 18, helped India revive from a string of blows, in the company of Agarwal. 

Iyer looked set for another big innings but Ajaz Patel had him caught behind for 18 which left India struggling at 160/4, but wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha and Agarwal did well to take India to 221/4 at stumps in 70 overs. Saha and Agarwal have so far added 61 runs for the fifth wicket with the former reaching 25 not out from 53 balls with the help of three boundaries and one six. 

Agarwal was the pick among the batsmen from the Indian team as he remained unbeaten on 120 from 246 balls with the help of 14 boundaries and four sixes. He produced a spectacular innings on a pitch which provided a lot of support to spin bowlers as New Zealand stuck with their three-pronged spin attack of Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra and Will Somerville.