Team India on Saturday (December 19) recorded their lowest ever Test score of 36/9 (with Mohammad Shami retired hurt) in the second innings of the first Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
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India's earlier lowest score in the longest format was 42 at Lord's in 1974 against England and a member of that team, Gundappa Viswanath, said he never thought he would see the national team posting a total of 42 or lower in a Test innings.
“I was in the team when we were all out for 42 against England at Lord’s. But I would never say that 36 laid the ghost of that to rest. I can never be happy. I never thought I would see India getting all out for 42 or less again in my lifetime. It doesn’t feel good. But they have to just leave this behind and pull up their socks,” Viswanath wrote in a column for The Indian Express.
“Everything combines when a team gets out for such a low score. All the bowlers will bowl very well, top-order batsmen will get some very good deliveries, and there will not be much resistance from the lower order,” he added.
Unlike the 1974 debacle at Lord’s where India were completely outplayed, the Adelaide Test saw the visitors having an upper hand at the end of Day 2.
India had a 53-run first innings lead but Josh Hazlewood (5 for 8) and Pat Cummins (4 for 21), ran through the batting line-up in the first session on Day 3 to change the course of the game.
Chasing the target of 90 in the fourth innings, Australia got over the line with 8 wickets in hand thanks to Joe Burns’ half-century.
“In Adelaide, the pitch became a little quicker on the third day. The Australian bowlers bowled really well, and consistently,” Viswanath wrote.
“The same thing happened at Lord’s. Whenever the batsmen were beaten, the ball took the edge. Compared to Lord’s, where it was cloudy and the ball swung, the Adelaide Oval pitch had a little more bounce but not much lateral or seam movement. All the bowlers kept the batsmen under pressure,” he further remarked.
Skipper Virat Kohli won’t be taking part in the remaining three Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as he will head back home on paternity leave.
Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team in the remaining games as Viswanath backed India to bounce back in the series. However, he added that the team would need to make a few changes.
“The Indian team have played enough cricket to get this out of their system. There are players in this team who have played 60-70 Tests and even without Kohli, this team has the ability to bounce back. Rahane has captained India before, some years back, and guided the team to victory.
“However, some changes become imperative. (Shubman) Gill has to come in place of (Prithvi) Shaw. No two ways about it. (KL) Rahul will come in place of Kohli. I don’t know how bad is (Mohammed) Shami’s injury. Hopefully, he will recover. Rohit (Sharma) is there, but he will be available only for the last two Tests.
“You have to come good in the next three Tests. Forget about fancy shots. A lot of application is needed,” he signed off.