MUMBAI: Mayank Agarwal hit an unbeaten 120 to lead India’s fightback on the opening day of the second Test after Mumbai-born New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel took all four wickets to fall.
India reached 221 for four at stumps with Agarwal and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, on 25, in the middle after the hosts elected to bat first on a weather-hit day when only 70 overs were possible.
Agarwal lifted India from a precarious 80-3 when Patel struck twice in one over with his left-arm spin to send back Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Virat Kohli for ducks.
He smashed 14 boundaries and four sixes including one off Patel at long off after being challenged to the shot.
Agarwal told reporters there was a conscious decision to attack Patel, who he said had “bowled exceedingly well” during the day, keeping up the pressure on the home team.
“He had that phase when he tied us down,” Agarwal said. “If we would have let him bowl the way he did, he would have ended up with more wickets.”
He added: “This innings was about grit and determination, stick to a plan and having the mental discipline to be at it.”
Patel broke an 80-run opening stand between Agarwal and Shubman Gill, who made 44 before being caught by Ross Taylor, and India rapidly lost three wickets in the space of 16 deliveries.
Kohli lasted only four balls on his return to the team, having stepped down from the Twenty20 captaincy and after a short break following the World Cup.
The star batsman, who was adjudged lbw by umpire Anil Chaudhary, called for a review but the third umpire upheld the decision after numerous replays, some angles of which suggested the ball could have hit the bat first.
A visibly upset Kohli returned to the pavilion after speaking with umpire Nitin Menon and silence prevailed at the Wankhede Stadium.
Moments earlier Patel had bowled struggling Pujara, also for nought.
But Agarwal and first-match centurion Shreyas Iyer put on 80 runs between them to rebuild the innings.
Patel struck again to get Iyer caught by wicketkeeper Tom Blundell for 18.
New batsman Saha took 17 deliveries to get off the mark but did so with a straight six off Patel and put on an unbeaten stand of 61 with Agarwal.
Agarwal reached his fourth Test hundred — including two double centuries — with a boundary off Daryl Mitchell and let out a roar amid raucous applause from the crowd.
“We know that the Indian line-up is full of quality players,” Patel said on his duel with Agarwal.
“He batted pretty well and played some really good shots,” adding he was close to getting him out a few times, but the batsman had a “phenomenal day” at the crease.
“There is definitely assistance out there for spin bowling,” Patel said. “And we got a bit more bounce than Kanpur, so as a spinner you still want to try and bowl the ball hard and get in the good areas for long periods of time.”
Patel’s figures of 4-73 in 29 overs were a boost for a New Zealand side who are without captain Kane Williamson, ruled out ahead of the toss with a troublesome elbow injury. Tom Latham is the stand-in-skipper.
India were also hurt by injuries to Ajinkya Rahane (hamstring), Ishant Sharma (dislocated finger) and Ravindra Jadeja (forearm swelling).
The first session of the day was lost to wet patches at the stadium following two days of unseasonal rain in Mumbai.
New Zealand, the world Test champions after beating India in the title clash in June, hung on for a draw in the opening Test.
India won the toss
India 1st Innings
Mayank not out 120
Shubman c Taylor b Patel 44
Pujara b Patel 0
Kohli (c) lbw b Patel 0
Shreyas c †Blundell b Patel 18
Wriddhiman† not out 25
Extras: (b 9, lb 5) 14
Total: (70 Ov, RR: 3.15) 221/4
Yet to bat: Jayant Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav
Fall: 1-80, 27.3 ov 2-80, 29.2 ov 3-80, 29.6 ov 4-160, 47.4 ov
Bwoling: Tim Southee 15-5-29-0 Kyle Jamieson 9-2-30-0 Ajaz Patel 29-10-73-4 William Somerville 8-0-46-0 Rachin Ravindra 4-0-20-0 Daryl Mitchell 5-3-9-0
New Zealand Team
Will Young, Tom Latham (c), Daryl Mitchell, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell†, Rachin Ravindra, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, William Somerville, Ajaz Patel
Umpires: India Chaudhary, Nitin Menon