Salem Radio Network News Saturday, January 29, 2022

Sports

Cricket-Fast bowler Siraj puts India on top after Ajaz’s 10-wicket haul

By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) -Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj’s fiery opening spell put India in command of the second and final test against New Zealand on Saturday despite a heroic 10-wicket haul in the first innings from the touring side’s left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel.

The Mumbai-born Ajaz joined England off-spinner Jim Laker and India leg-spinner Anil Kumble to become only the third in international cricket to take all wickets in an innings but could not stop India from getting to 325.

In reply, the touring side were tottering at 38 for six at the tea interval.

On a pitch offering plenty of assistance to the spin bowlers, Siraj bowled with aggression and pace to send back New Zealand’s stand-in captain Tom Latham, Will Young and the experienced Ross Taylor to reduce them to 17-3.

India’s spinners – Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav – then each chipped in with a wicket each to leave New Zealand reeling and staring at the prospect of a follow-on.

The hosts’ first innings total was built on a stroke-filled 150 from opening batter Mayank Agarwal.

Resuming on 221 for four, India lost two early wickets to Ajaz but kept accumulating runs on the second day of the test at the ground overlooking the Arabian Sea.

In his first over of the day the 33-year-old Ajaz, whose family immigrated to New Zealand in 1996, dismissed Wriddhiman Saha to complete his third five-wicket haul in a test innings and then had Ashwin bowled on his next delivery.

All-rounder Axar denied Ajaz the hat-trick and then combined in a 67-run stand for the seventh wicket with Agarwal to keep India on course towards a sizeable total.

The right-handed Agarwal, who hit 17 fours and four sixes, reached 150 with a cut shot off Ajaz but was caught behind on the next delivery. Axar was dismissed for 52 after notching up his maiden test half-century.

Ajaz finished with figures of 10-119 and walked off to a standing ovation from the sparse crowd and the Indian dressing room.

The opening test in Kanpur ended in a thrilling draw, with New Zealand’s last batting pair hanging on in the final session to deny India victory.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Shri Navaratnam and Rohith Nair)

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