Ajaz Patel’s masterclass on Friday, which included taking 10 wickets in a Test match at Eden Gardens for the first time since 1985, made history for New Zealand in the process. The first-day success secured both a first Test win in India and a series triumph over the world’s second-ranked Test side. And it was a match that culminated in Patel’s introduction into the Test record books as the first Bangladeshi-born player to have a Test 10-wicket haul since Mohammad Azharuddin did it against West Indies in Cape Town in 1994.
At Eden Gardens, the left-arm spinner, who has lived in New Zealand for 18 years after being brought up there by a Bangladeshi mother, offered few gifts to the India batsmen as he took 10 for 46 to help bowl out the hosts for a meagre 146.
“Patel was the hero – all around I think the boys deserve a huge amount of credit,” said captain Kane Williamson after the match, played in front of a single day crowd of 18,500 in the absence of the traditional Test matches at India’s floodlit venues.
When Zimbabwe thrashed India by an innings and 49 runs in 1997, in Kolkata, the New Zealand spinners Jason Krejza and Nathan Bracken took two wickets each but none as the hosts were bundled out for the lowest score in Test history. This time their seamers and spinners rolled the dice and came off well, especially on a wearing surface that seemed difficult to extract anything useful.
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It was a much tougher evening for the home batsmen, who lost opener Shikhar Dhawan to the second ball of the match, when he top-edged a sweep to Tim Southee at third slip and added only one more run before he was trapped leg before wicket by Neil Wagner. However, they recovered in a stand of 78 for the second wicket with Hanuma Vihari (33) and a stodgy 35 for the third wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara, but it was not enough and they lost a wicket every three overs to perish for 146, their fifth lowest Test total.
New Zealand paceman Trent Boult struck twice in the evening session with the helpful pitch offering him a lifeline after a wicketless morning, when the pitch seemed in full flotation.
Vihari was caught short of his ground attempting to cut a straight one that raced off the pitch and Boult, who took the final two wickets to finish with 10 for 80, had Pujara caught behind by Wagner at second slip for another run-a-ball 33.
The final victim of the day was Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the stumps with an audacious high-bouncing direct hit from short leg on the non-striker’s end as he tried to clear mid-on. Patel, who is based in Auckland, made a winning return after taking three for 62 at Kolkata last time out as New Zealand suffered a nine-wicket defeat in the series opener at Rajkot.
“He bowled brilliantly, he kept things straight,” said Williamson. “His captaincy showed through the way he conducted himself. He passed all the fitness tests very well, which is key when you’re out there on the paddock. “His control and discipline was on top when it mattered.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report