What‘s the story?
Iconic opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar has termed the abject surrender against Australia in Pune as one of the worst ever defeats in India’s long and illustrious Test history. He lashed out at India’s batting lineup for their horror show in the opening Test of the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“I can't really remember India losing in two and half days. It was a bit surprising the way India tackled the Australian spinners. It was probably a bad day, I am disappointed with a lack of fight shown by the Indian team. Getting out (with)in 75 overs (74 overs combined) in two innings is just not done.
“This was one of the worst defeats of the Indian team. Finishing in half an hour just after tea was unbelievable. Indians were a little careless. The Indian batsmen needed to realise that they needed to stay on the wicket”, Gavaskar told NDTV.
Hailing the visitors, the 67-year old added, “The way the Australians fought on a pitch they were not familiar with, it was amazing to watch. Credit to Matt Renshaw and Steven Smith the way they batted. Australia played some really smart cricket. Smith played a captain's knock and it was one of the best Test match hundreds that you will see.“
The last time that India had lost a Test at home was in 2012 against England at the Eden Gardens. Coming into this match, Virat Kohli’s troops were on an incredible run of 19 unbeaten Tests. On the other hand, Australia had lost their nine previous Tests on Asian soil.
The heart of the matter
Upon winning a vital toss on a raging turner at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Australia rode on the back of Renshaw’s gritty 68 and Mitchell Starc’s quick fire 61 to compile a strong first innings total.
India’s in-form batting lineup inexplicably collapsed against Steve O’Keefe’s straighter deliveries to get bundled out for just 105 runs from 40.1 overs. With Smith’s century leading the way, the visitors amassed 285 in their second innings.
Facing an improbable target, the Indian batsmen showed no fight whatsoever and capsized for only 107 runs from 33.5 overs. The 333-run loss was the fourth worst overall and second-worst at home (in terms of runs) in India’s Test history.
Having come a cropper in every single department of the game, India need to regroup and lift their game to get back into the series. The second Test is slated to begin at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on March 4th.
Given the impressive form that India were in, not many would have expected Australia to triumph let alone hammer them inside three days. Gavaskar’s assessment is spot on regarding the Indian batsmen’s appalling display. Though the surface was not easy to bat on, their indecisive footwork and improper judgment came across as an insult to the country’s rich batting legacy against the turning ball.