A shambolic third morning session with the bat saw the Indian Cricket Team waste their efforts in the first Test against the Australian Cricket Team. Carrying on from 9/1 overnight after Jasprit Bumrah's unexpected night-watchman vigil, the Indian batting order showed little resistance.
Put against the unfailingly accurate Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, the Indian batsmen were technically tested like never before. On a pitch that has been consistently tough to bat on due to its unpredictable bounce and movement off the pitch, the Indians struggled. Attempts to drive took the edge, attempts to defend took the nick and a procession of Indian batsmen back to the dressing room followed.
It was a nightmare session in a contest that was hitherto dominated by the visitors, India's third innings folded for just 36 as Mohammad Shami retired hurt. The 36 India managed was the joint-lowest total scored against Australia, and tied with Australia's own lowest score in Test matches.
India have been put under the pump in previous tours overseas, with a batting order that was susceptible to alien conditions of extra swing and bounce. Here's a look at India's three lowest Test totals of all time.
#3 58 all out (India v Australia, 1947; India v England, 1952)
India's third lowest total of 58 was scored shortly after Independence in 1947, and then again in 1952. There was a difference in eras, as the game in 1947 featured eight-ball overs, while by 1952 the six-ball over had been put into place.
In the game against Australia, India were never truly in the contest. A tall 382/8, courtesy Sir Donald Bradman's 185, made India chase the leather for 115 overs before the hosts decided to declare the innings. In reply, Lala Amarnath top-scored with 22 in a paltry total of 58, following on from his four-fer with the ball. India lost that game by an innings as the follow-on yielded just 98 runs. Ernie Toshack, Australia's left arm medium pacer, claimed 11 wickets in the game.
Against England, the script was similar as Sir Len Hutton's ton allowed the hosts to reach 347 before the declaration. The Indian innings never got going, and a 22 from Vijay Manjrekar ensured India crossed the 50-run mark. The follow-on effort too was miserable, as India ended with just 82. Sir Alec Bedser and Fred Trueman were the wreckers-in-chief for the hosts with 7 and 9 wickets apiece.
#2 42 all out (India v England, 1974)
India's second-worst Test outing with bat in hand came against familiar tormentors, England, at London. As many as three tons allowed England to amass 629 in their first essay, with a Bishan Bedi 6-fer coming at the hefty cost of 226 runs.
In the first innings, India replied with a woefully inadequate yet respectable 302. It was in the follow-on effort that India were blown away by Geoff Arnold and Chris Old's 9 wickets combined. Seventeen overs was all it took for India to be bowled out for a record low score of 42.
#1 36/9 (India v Australia, 2020)
Virat Kohli's 74, Ravichandran Ashwin's 4-fer and Umesh Yadav's 3 wickets kept India in front during the first Test against Australia in 2020-21. Despite a woeful catching effort in most part, a Kohli run-out depriving the team of resistance in the third session on the first day, and an 80-run contribution by Australia's last three wickets, India were still ahead.
They would rue all the missed opportunities in a horror morning session on the third day. Not even one batsman ventured into double digits, as India's batting mainstays Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara mustered up just four runs between them. Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins found the perfect length and reaped rewards, as Tim Paine took five catches behind the stumps. It was a miserable end to Kohli's 2020 season, as he finished it without a century in any international format.Published 19 Dec 2020, 12:28 IST