Mumbai, Dec 3: Mayank Agarwal struck a fantastic unbeaten century and helped India reach a strong position at 221/4 in 70 overs against New Zealand at stumps after surviving a three-wicket burst in 10 balls by Ajaz Patel on a truncated first day of the second and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Friday.
Agarwal's fourth Test hundred, came off 196 deliveries and was studded with 13 fours and three sixes as he propelled India after New Zealand had come back strongly just before tea, keeping one end up even as wickets tumbled at the other. The opener batted with a lot of confidence, did not play any false shot and was batting on 120 (226 balls, 14x4, 4 x 6) at stumps, with Wriddhiman Saha keeping him company with 25 (55 balls, 3x4, 1x6).
The Indians had a mighty scare just before tea as Patel struck three quick blows, sending back Shubman Gill on the third ball of the 28th over, Cheteshwar Pujara on the second ball of the 30th over and Virat Kohli on the last ball of the same over.
Agarwal, who suffered a concussion when he was hit by Mohd Siraj in nets in August this year, along with Iyer stemmed the rot and kept the scoreboard moving, punishing the loose balls and playing the good ones with caution. Agarwal, who has scored two double centuries so far, was involved in three half-century partnerships -- 80 runs for the first wicket with Shubman Gill (44), 80 with Shreyas Iyer (18) for the fourth wicket and an unbeaten 61-run stand with Wriddhiman Saha (25 not out).
Patel came back to claim Iyer in the final session of the day, revving the ball and extracting good turn and bounce on a track that had a lot to offer bowlers that slowed it down, ending the day with 4/73 off 29 overs, bowling 24 off them unchanged from the Tata End.
Earlier, it looked like India was running away with the Test with Agarwal and Gill in full flow after play started at 12 noon -- the delay caused by some wet patches on the ground because of the heavy rains on Wednesday before Patel halted their progress with three quick wickets.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli's return to the India Test team lasted only four deliveries but resulted in a big debate as he got out for a duck. Given lbw by umpire Anil Chaudhary off Patel, Kohli reviewed the decision but the TV umpire could not conclusively decide whether the ball hit the bat first or the pad.