Cummins, Hazlewood raze India, Australia wins inside three days

India collapses to its lowest total in Test cricket en route to an eight-wicket defeat against Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Josh Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood of Australia after taking five wickets on Day 3 of the first Test match against India at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

The Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli collapsed to its lowest Test score of 36 en route to an eight-wicket defeat against Australia on the third day of the opening day-night Test here on Saturday.

There were no demons in the pitch but Josh Hazlewood (5-3-8-5) and Patrick Cummins (10.2-4-21-4) displayed fast bowling of highest quality, the impact of which will be far-reaching with three more Tests to go.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

India’s earlier lowest score was 42 at Lord’s in 1974 against England, sometimes referred to as the “Summer of 42.” Saturday’s total was also the lowest score in the brief history of day-night 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.

Australia 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 has now lost three successive Tests well inside three days, after having gone down to New Zealand twice earlier this year.

To make matters worse for the team, 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 to bat and the Indian innings was terminated at 36 for 9 in 21.2 overs.

AS IT HAPPENED

The likes of Sunil Gavaskar and the late Ajit Wadekar had long carried the baggage of the English Summer of 1974, 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 was reduced to 26 for 8 and looked like it would equal the lowest-ever Test score (26 by New Zealand vs England) but Hanuma Vihari’s boundary helped it evade entry into the dark pages of cricketing history.

The Indian batting was completely exposed by the extra bounce generated by Australian fast bowlers, 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.

The Indian second-innings scorecard. No Indian batsman scored more than nine runs. - GETTY IMAGES

 

Once nightwatchman Jasprit Bumrah (2) was out in the first over, Hazlewood and Cummins decimated the tourist and also caused lasting damage to its pride.

The likes of Mayank Agarwal (9), Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (0) were all out in similar fashion. The deliveries were identical; they were angled in, which forced the batsmen to jab at them, bounced a bit more than usual. They deviated a shade, taking the outside edge to Tim Paine behind the stumps.

Kohli (4) was dismissed in the manner he used to get out in England back in 2014; he tried to drive a delivery on the fifth stump and was caught at gully.

To sum it up, the Indian batsmen failed to factor in the pitch suddenly becoming 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.

Pat Cummins (left) and Josh Hazlewood, the wreckers-in-chief. - AP

A collapse like this could affect the performance in the next Test match at the MCG, beginning on December 26. India won’t have Kohli to look up to as he would be on paternity leave.

Ajinkya Rahane, the captain in waiting, has been in poor form for a long 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, may also have his share of problems.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s defensive batting worked well in 2018 but this time, there is propensity to get stuck. Shane Warne, during the on-air commentary, pointed out at his inability to rotate the strike.

As much as one romanticises the 43 off 160 balls as a display of pristine Test cricket, the lack of runs in the first two sessions also came back to bite India hard.

The sequence 4, 9, 2, 0, 4, 0, 8, 4, 0, 4, and 1 on the scorecard will rankle the fans and this team for a long time.

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