India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test, Mumbai, Dec 3 – 7 2021, New Zealand tour of India
Match Result: India won by 372 runs
Player of the Match: Mayank Agarwal
Match Report: Three Indian players, who are irregularly considered for Test Cricket, performed fabulously in a winning cause for the country. Mayank Agarwal was fantastic throughout the test. If his 150 in the first innings was not enough, he backed it up by a fifty in the second innings. This innings had set up the platform for India. Even if Ajaz managed all 10 wickets in the first innings, the happiness of Kiwi fans was short-lived.
Siraj came up with a fiery spell in the first innings of NZ batting. He bowled accurately and with an aggression that had a direction. Directed efforts to take wickets. His three early wickets made it way easier for Ashwin and other bowlers to bowl out New Zealand.
Axar, who was impressive in the first test as well, with five-wicket haul, performed brilliantly with the bat. His quickfire 41 off just 26 balls, that included 4 clean sixes, made sure that India got a huge lead with many overs in kitty to bowl out New Zealand.
Virat Kohli, in the post-match presentation, spoke about these 3 stars.
On Mayank Agarwal: “Great application from Mayank. To play at this level for a long period of time, you need resilience, and you need character. And he has certainly shown that. We have all gone through these processes where we have had to make that impact performance at a very crucial stage, and he has done that. More than just feeling easy about himself as a batsman or as an individual, I think what this will do is build his character and help him be consistent for India moving forward.”
On Mohammed Siraj: “He is certainly someone who has a lot of skill and talent. You can see the way he bowls and puts in effort every spell that he bowls. It feels like he can pick you a couple of wickets every spell. That is a great boost for the team. Especially in difficult or challenging situations where there is a partnership there and wickets are not falling. You can rely on a guy like that to bowl three-four rapid overs and make something happen from the pitch.
He has skill in his hand. He doesn’t really bank on conditions, which can prove to be the difference in winning a Test and drawing it. If you look at the Lord’s Test, even when the ball stopped swinging later on, he was able to get purchase form the wicket because of the skill he has in his hand and give us those breakthroughs which were very crucial because of the number of overs we had.”
On Axar Patel: “Axar is an all-round cricketer. His skillsets provide good balance to any team he plays for. Precisely why he has been performing so well in T20 format for so long and in Test cricket as well whenever he is given an opportunity. The good thing to see is he is adapting his game according to the needs of the format, which is a great sign. If he can keep his fitness levels up and if he can keep working on his game, he has potential to play for a long time. That’s basically the need of the hour in today’s cricket when we play so much cricket. If you can’t keep your fitness levels up, it gets more and more difficult.”