Mumbai-born New Zealand left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel is relishing every bit of his dream homecoming after grabbing all the four wickets during the first day's play against India in the second Test here. Patel finished the day with an impressive haul of 4/73 in 29 overs.
"This is what the dreams are made of, to be out here and go out there and pick up four wickets on the first day is pretty special," he said during a virtual media interaction at the end of the proceedings on Friday. "I'm really, really lucky to be sitting here with four wickets and I'm pretty happy to be in my hometown. At the Wankhede, it was pretty special for me."
Playing in India for the first time, the 33-year old, who had moved to New Zealand at the age of eight, turned it around for the visitors after a strong start by the Indian openers.
Patel first dismissed Shubman Gill (44) to break a strong opening stand at 80 and then took the prized scalps of Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and virat Kohli (0) in the same over to rattle the Indian top-order.
From 80/3 just before the tea break, India responded in style with a majestic unbeaten 120 by Mayank Agarwal to finish the day on 221 for four.
"The job is only half done. We got to make sure we turn up tomorrow and fight hard for the remaining six wickets. It's quite evenly poised at the moment. It's a big day tomorrow." Patel said there is assistance from the pitch but it's about bowling in the good areas consistently.
"Yes definitely, there's assistance there for the spinners and we have got a bit more bounce than Kanpur. As a spinner, you want to bowl hard and put it in the right areas for a long period of time. It's about keeping the game plan simple and using the wicket as much as possible," he added.
Patel's fourth victim was Kanpur Test centurion Shreyas Iyer as he dismissed him for 18 to break his 80-run partnership with Agarwal.
"For me, it was really important that even though it was turning, I still had to make sure my line, angle and the ball position was correct," said the Kiwi star performer.
"From different angles, you got different levels of turn, some turned sharply and skidded on. I was looking to play around with that with the wicket being so responsive. It really challenged both sides of the edge. The reality of test cricket is if you put the ball in good areas for a long period of time, you will see rewards back. It was my day today," he concluded.