Saturday Dec 04, 2021
MUMBAI: New Zealand’s Mumbai-born spinner Ajaz Patel claimed all 10 Indian wickets in the second Test, becoming only the third bowler in cricket history to achieve the feat on Saturday.
Ajaz, a left-arm spinner, added to his tally of four wickets on the opening day to return figures of 10-119. India were all out for 325.
England off-spinner Jim Laker was the first bowler to take a Test ten-for, against Australia in 1956 at Old Trafford. He ended up with 19 wickets in an encounter that came to be known as "Laker’s Match".
Indian spin ace Anil Kumble is the only other player to do so, against Pakistan in 1999 at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla.
"Welcome to the club #AjazPatel #Perfect10 Well bowled! A special effort to achieve it on Day1 & 2 of a test match," the former leg-spinner tweeted.
Ajaz, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1996 with his parents, was playing just his 11th Test for New Zealand since making his debut in 2018.
Now 33, his previous Test best was 5-59.
"Honestly, it’s surreal and to be able to do that in my career is pretty special," he said. "The stars have aligned for me to do it in Mumbai.
"I’m in very illustrious company with Kumble sir as well."
Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh lauded his feat, saying: "Ajaz Patel This will be remembered forever 47.5-12-119-10 simply outstanding. Let me stand and clap."
Australia’s Aaron Finch said: "That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!! Ajaz Patel... What a phenomenal performance."
Ajaz had already described his return to Mumbai as "special" after taking four wickets on the opening day, adding that "this is what dreams are made of".
He had a middle-class upbringing in the Indian port city, where his father worked in refrigeration and his mother was a school teacher.
At the time the family emigrated he had little knowledge of New Zealand aside from the chocolates relatives already living there had sent them.
"When I think back on that, it is quite surprising that I sit here in New Zealand as an international cricketer knowing where I come from," Ajaz once wrote.
He found his calling in cricket and his heart was set on becoming a devastating fast bowler in the mould of national hero Richard Hadlee.
It was not until his mid-20s that he realised he was too short to make it as a quick, and switched from left-arm medium-pace to spin under former New Zealand spinner Dipak Patel. He thought it "might be fun" to try being a spinner, he once recalled.
The change transformed his career: he was selected for the national team at the late age of 30, and has now overtaken New Zealand’s previous Test best of 9-52 by Hadlee himself, against Australia at Brisbane in 1985.
On Saturday the spinner rattled India in the first session with wickets in successive balls to be on a hat-trick before overnight batsman Mayank Agarwal reached 150 to help India to a challenging total.
But Ajaz sent back Agarwal, who started the day on 120 with India on 221-4, to break a 67-run stand with Axar Patel, who made 52.
The wily spinner soon got Axar lbw and wrapped up the Indian innings with Mohammed Siraj his final scalp as the Kiwi players surrounded their hero with hugs and applause.
He sent down 47.5 overs in four spells out of a Kiwi total of 109.5 and bowled almost unchanged on day two.