Ajaz comes full circle — what we learned from India-NZ Test series

2.Ajaz comes full circle — what we learned from India-NZ Test series
New Zealand's Ajaz Patel delivers a ball during the third day of the second Test cricket match between India and New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on December 5, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
MUMBAI, India — India thrashed New Zealand by 372 runs in the second Test to clinch the two-match series 1-0 on Monday.

AFP Sport takes a look at five things we learnt from the two matches.اضافة اعلان

Ajaz comes of age

From a young boy who walked the streets of Mumbai to playing for the Black Caps after moving to Auckland with his parents, life has come full circle for Ajaz Patel.

The left-arm spinner had a homecoming to remember after taking 10 wickets in an innings, entering elite company alongside England's Jim Laker and India's Anil Kumble.

Ajaz's left-arm spin bamboozled the Indian batsmen at Wankhede as he returned figures of 14-225 and finally made his presence felt in the New Zealand team.

"A big occasion for me and my family, to be able to do that here in Mumbai is very special," the 33-year-old, who made his Test debut in 2018, said.

New Zealand tough nut

The tourists lost the second match by a huge margin, but their hard-fought draw in the opening game showed why they are World Test Championship holders.

Indian-origin players Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz stood firm for 52 battling balls when bad light stopped play on day five in Kanpur.

It was a rare draw stretched to five full days in India, where red-ball matches often wrap up in three or four days.

"This result seems one-sided," India coach Rahul Dravid said after his team's big win on Monday.

"But right through the series we were made to work hard."

Rahane's poor form

Ajinkya Rahane's 35 and four while captain in the first match kept his batting average to under 20 this year and prompted calls for his ouster from the Indian XI.

He was finally forced out of the team in the second Test with a hamstring niggle as Kohli returned from his break.

Reports in the Indian media suggested that Rahane's injury was only a respectable way to drop him.

But Kohli has stood by his veteran batsman, who has played 79 Tests for India and made 4,795 runs since his 2013 debut.

India's bench strength

The hosts put on a clinical showing to win the series, despite missing big names including Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Shreyas Iyer made an impressive debut in Kanpur with scores of 105 and 65.
Off-spinner Jayant Yadav claimed career-best figures of 4-49 and pace bowler Mohammed Siraj rattled the New Zealand top order in the first innings in Mumbai.

Kohli was full of praise for his team's depth of talent.
"Indian cricket is in safe hands," he said.

Siraj sets pace

New pace ace Siraj made his presence felt on a spin-friendly track as he set the tone for India's dominance at Wankhede.

Siraj first bowled Will Young and then struck on successive deliveries in New Zealand's first-innings collapse to 62 all out.

He returned figures of 3-19 and the spinners took over to overwhelm the Black Caps' batting, which again fell to the Indian turners led by Ravichandran Ashwin in the second innings.

"He doesn't really bank on conditions, he has a lot of skill and he banks on that instead," Kohli said of the quick from Hyderabad.

Read more Sports