Team India are in the driving seat after the end of Day 3 of the ongoing second Test against New Zealand at Wankhede in Mumbai. Opener Mayank Agarwal‘s half-century and crucial contributions by the middle-order helped India score 276/7 before declaring their second innings.
In the massive chase of 540 runs, New Zealand ended Day 3 with 140/5 as Indian spinners ripped apart the tourists’ batting order. Although, after bundling out the visitors for 62 on the second day– the lowest Test total by any side on Indian soil — in the first innings, the hosts had a lead of 263 runs. But India skipper Virat Kohli did not enforce the follow-on over the Black Caps, and the decision surprised several experts of the game.
After the end of the third day’s play, Indian spinner Axar Patel revealed why the home team decided to bat again despite having an option to enforce the follow-on over the visiting side.
“The aim was to bat since we had a lot of time remaining in the match. Such situations don’t arise often. We were trying to explore a situation as if we’re chasing in the last innings when the ball is turning. We were trying to better ourselves, assuming we’ll get such a situation in the fourth innings someday,” said Axar.
Axar reckoned that the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium has slowed down as the match has progressed. The left-armer, however, observed India have enough plans to deal with the challenge, and they have to be patient.
“Two days earlier, the ball was bouncing a bit due to the moisture. As the match is progressing, it’s becoming a little slow. It’s easier for batsmen to play off the back foot. But we’ve played in such conditions. So we know what to do. We have to keep patience on such a wicket,” added Axar.