India missed a golden chance to capitalise on early dominance in the first five sessions of the opening Test, falling victim to a fierce Australian attack on day three.

The Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli faced its worst hour of embarrassment while collapsing to its lowest Test score of 36 as a rampaging Australia cruised to an emphatic eight-wicket victory inside two and half days in the opening Day/Night Test on Saturday.

The Indians were bowled out for 36 on day three at Adelaide Oval, with no batsman managing to reach double digits as Hazlewood finished with figures of 5-8 off five overs and Cummins’ 4-21 off 10.2. India’s earlier lowest score was 42 at the Lord’s in 1974 against England, known in Indian cricket parlance as the “Summer of 42”.

Josh Hazlewood: Still pinching myself (about how quickly the wickets fell). Little bit (smiles, asked if he emulated Glenn McGrath style of bowling today). I try to do that every time I bowl to be honest. We bowled a little bit fuller and straighter and there you go… all out for 36, good result. Ready to go from ball one makes a lot of difference, can go wrong if you take two three balls to warm up. That one boundary early on for the batsman can make a difference. The wicket quickened up definitely. We bowled a touch fuller, gave the ball air to swing and got the results. Hope for a bit more grass on (for the rest of the series). We have got a blueprint from this game as to how we should go about it. Red ball is another change. We ticked a lot of boxes this game. The difference at certain times of the day with the pink ball. Tough to bat in the night, during the day it’s kind of soft for the bowlers. but this pitch had a bit more grass than the previous series. So we are still learning and evolving with the pink ball.

Saturday’s total was also the lowest score in the brief history of D/N Tests and the joint fifth lowest overall. The easy target of 90 runs was achieved by the home side in only 21 overs without much fuss. They only lost Matthew Wade (33) and Marnus Labuschagne (6) in pursuit of the easy goal and in the process, opener Joe Burns (51) got a confidence-boosting half-century.

India have now lost three successive Tests well inside three days with two being in New Zealand earlier this year. To make matters worse for the visitors, star pacer Mohammed Shami’s series could well be over due to a wrist injury from a short ball from Pat Cummins, which could potentially be a fracture. Shami could not continue and the Indian innings was terminated at 36 for 9 in 21.2 overs.

The likes of Sunil Gavaskar and the late Ajit Wadekar had long carried the baggage of that English Summer, inarguably one of the worst in the annals of Indian cricket. It will now be replaced by the “Summer of 36”. Call it irony, but just like Gavaskar then, a modern day great like Virat Kohli will have this bit of avoidable history in his legacy, a day when one could hardly figure out what went wrong. At one stage, India were reduced to 26 for 8 and looked like equalling the lowest ever Test score (26 by New Zealand vs England) but Hanuma Vihari’s boundary helped them evade entry into the dark pages of cricketing history.

The Indian batting was completely exposed by the extra bounce generated by Australian pacers, who bowled every delivery on the off-middle channel after landing on the seam. In an inexplicable collapse, India’s much vaunted batsmen fell like nine pins with not a single one able to reach double figures.

Once nightwatchman Jasprit Bumrah (2) was out in the first over, Hazlewood and Cummins (10.2-4-21-4), literally decimated the tourists and also caused lasting damage to their pride. The likes of Mayank Agarwal (9), Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (0) were all out in similar fashion.

All the deliveries were almost identical, angled in, which forced the batsmen to jab at them and just bounced a wee bit more. They deviated a shade taking outside edges to Tim Paine behind the stumps. Kohli (4) was dismissed in the manner he used to get out in England back in 2014, trying to drive a delivery on the fifth stump and caught at gully.

To sum it up, the Indian batsmen failed to factor in the pitch suddenly becoming more livelier with extra bounce. The two Australian pacers bowled deliveries that the visiting batsmen had to play and the ultra-defensive mindset that they carried from the first innings didn’t help their cause.

Never has a Test match changed so dramatically in an hour’s play like it did at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Worse, a collapse like this could affect the performance in the next Test match at the MCG, beginning December 26, and not to forget they won’t have a Kohli to look up to as he would be on paternity leave.

Ajinkya Rahane, the captain in waiting, has been in wretched form for the longest time and one would prefer to discount his hundred against a below-par West Indies attack in the interim. Even the South Africa attack at home wasn’t the best in the business. Prithvi Shaw’s confidence is in shambles in terms of both technique and temperament. Mayank Agarwal, with that pronounced back-lift and a dodgy technique against deliveries with extra bounce, will also have his share of problems.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s defensive batting worked well in 2018 but this time, there is a propensity to get stuck as Shane Warne, during commentary, pointed out at his inability to rotate the strike. As much as one romanticises that 43 off 160 balls as a display of pristine Test cricket, but that lack of runs in the first two sessions also came back to bite India hard.

Kohli | India captain: It’s very hard to put those feeling into words. We had a lead of 60-odd when we arrived. And then just collapsed. Played two days of good cricket to get in a position and then just lose it in an hour. Really hurts. Probably didn’t have enough intent in the batting today. It’s something that needs to be reflected and learnt from. Bowlers bowled similar kind of areas in the first innings as well, but then our mindset was to get runs. There were some good balls. But I don’t think it did anything drastic. Just the atmosphere was created where runs were difficult to come by. I think it was a combination of both – lack of intent, and bowlers bowling in good areas. Obviously you want to be committed to the team’s cause. Confident the boys going forward will reflect on this and come up with a better result on Boxing Day. No news on Shami, he’s going for a scan now. Was in a lot of pain, couldn’t even lift his arm. We’ll probably know in the evening what happens.

Paine | Australia captain and Player of the Match: (Can you believe?) No, not really. Said in the media both these attacks have the ability to take quick wickets. Didn’t expect it to come that quick. Was expecting a real dogfight. To hang in, give our bowlers a chance, and then turn up and start the day the way we did. Full credit to our bowling attack again. Nice to get off to a good start. Chuffed with the way we bowled in this Test. Still a bit of work to do with our batting. Burns is a really important part of our team. All cricketers know how hard it is to come out of a rut like that.


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