Black Caps suffer one of their worst test defeats and lose to India in Mumbai


Some days you just can't win.

The Black Caps lost their last five wickets in 11.3 overs on the fourth morning of the second Test against India on Monday. All out for 167 in their second innings, they lost the game with 372 runs and the two-game series 1-0.

They lost 49 Tests per innings but this was their biggest loss in terms of runs where their opponents hit twice. Their 33-year wait for victory in India continues. The wait for a first series win in India continues.

Margin aside, we knew all of this would come on Saturday when the Black Caps collapsed in their first innings for 62 - the lowest sum ever made in India and the fifth lowest in New Zealand. It will stay in memory like 26 and 45 before it.

If you want to see the positive side, you can memorize this as Ajaz ’Patel’s test. In the city where he was born, he became the third bowler in the game's 144-year history to take 10 wickets in one innings, making up all of India's wickets on days one and two. His numbers were the best of a New Zealander, beating Sir Richard Hadlees 9-52 down a rung. He finished 14-225, the best return of a guest player on the subcontinent and a record just behind Hadlees 15-123 among his compatriots.

The sad reality is that Patel's accomplishments, impressive as they were, were lost. When Jim Laker won all 10 wickets for England against Australia in 1952 and Anil Kumble for India against Pakistan in 1999, they were also able to celebrate victories. One of the many records Patel now holds is for best numbers - innings and match - on loss.

In India, this could be considered Mayank Agarwal's test. He made 150 out of 325 in the first inning and 62 in the second when they declared 276-7 and brought the Black Caps 540 to victory. He has no record of Virat Kohli or Cheteshwar Pujara or any of those who were rested or disfellowshipped for this series. It was a big game for the opening batsman, but there will be frustration at the Kiwi camp that it was he who prepared India for their biggest run win rather than one of the more established stars.

Read More | Kiwi spinner Ajaz get 14-for, but India is close to victory

The Mumbai course suited the hosts' nuts much better than the one for the first Test at Kanpur, where Rachin Ravindra and Patel secured a tie last afternoon and held India in check as they battled for one final wicket. Ravichandran Ashwin took eight wickets in Mumbai, Jayant Yadav five, Axar Patel three. They had options where the Black Caps only had Ajaz Patel and in the second innings, when the result was clear, Ravindra, whose introduction to test cricket was one of the bright spots of the tour.

One of the ugliest came in the Black Caps' second inning, when Ross Taylor, the senior squad and one of the country's greats, came and went eight balls apart while watching it all at sea. He was caught playing a slog that was unnecessary and it is no longer clear that he is one of the top six batsmen in the country. Will Young impressed in the first inning at Kanpur, Daryl Mitchell showed a good fight here in the second inning that took 92 balls for 60 and Ravindra was clearly someone with a bright future ahead of him.

What happened on the fourth morning? Ravindra added a couple of runs, then got caught on the first slip after hitting 50 balls - more than any but two of his teammates. After that, it was just the bowlers - and Henry Nicholls, the last man out, stumbled at Ashwin bowling for 44 out of 111.

The Black Caps have had a busy year and will now go home to lick some wounds. You can be proud of your great escape in Kanpur and Patel's historic accomplishments in Mumbai. You will still have a lot to reflect on before hosting Bangladesh for the first Home Summer Test on New Years Day in Mount Maunganui. A perfect record at home will be crucial if you want to defend your World Test  championship crown.