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Mumbai, Dec 4 (IANS) Mayank Agarwal continued from where he had left off on Friday evening as India survived a two-wicket burst by New Zealand's Ajaz Patel to continuing building their innings on the second day of the second and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.
Ajaz claimed two wickets off successive balls in his first over of the day, trapping lbw overnight batsman Wriddhiman Saha for 27 and castling R Ashwin with one that spun and struck the off-stump.
Axar Patel survived the hat-trick ball with a solid defensive prod and then helped Agarwal propel India to safety again, avoiding fall of any more wickets till the lunch break.
India, starting at overnight 221/4 added 64 runs to their total off 28 overs in the first session. Agarwal, starting at his overnight score of 120, looked as assured as on the first day even as others struggled against Ajaz.
He lifted an Ajaz delivery over the bowler's head for a superb boundary in his his 38th over. There was only one occasion when he had to hurry with his shot but the ball landed away from Tim Southee.
Axar Patel too played well as he struck Ajaz to the boundary, rocking back on the backfoot and playing late with the turn. He also picked Southee neatly off his toes to the boundary after New Zealand had taken the new ball after 80 overs.
But India found Ajaz a constant thorn in their side as the left-arm spinner, who migrated from Mumbai to New Zealand when he was eight, continued to trouble the Indian batsmen. He gave the ball nice revs, flighted it and got a nice loop going.
Ajaz in his first spell on the second morning had figures of 6-0-16-2 and overall figures of 42-11-103-6. The other New Zealand bowlers continued to struggle for wickets.
Southee had the best of the rest with none for 43 off 22 overs. New Zealand's stand-in skipper Tom Latham, who took up the wicketkeeping gloves from Tom Blundell after 93 overs, persevered with Southee and Ajaz, bringing Kyle Jamieson and William Somerville for short bursts.
Brief scores: India 285/6 in 98 overs (Mayank Agarwal batting 146, Shubman Gill 44, Wriddhiman Saha 27, Axar Patel batting 32; Ajaz Patel 6/103).
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