A devastated India crashed to their lowest ever score of 36 on Saturday as Australia ran riot to win the opening Test in Adelaide by eight wickets after Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins produced a bowling masterclass.
India started the third day of the pink-ball Test on nine for one and with a 62-run lead, looking to build a competitive second innings total for the hosts to chase.
But their hopes were left in tatters by a wicket with bounce and deviation as Hazlewood took 5-8, including his 200th Test wicket, and Cummins 4-21.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine claimed five catches as the bowlers found the edge.
“I didn’t expect it to come that quick, I was expecting a real dogfight,” said skipper Paine. “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.
“It’s nice to get off to a good start. Chuffed with the way we bowled in this Test.”
In comparison to their fighting first innings, 244, it was an unprecedented Indian failure, with no batsman hitting double digits during a capitulation that lasted less than 22 overs.
That included skipper Virat Kohli, who dropped for four and is now going home for his first child’s birth, leaving his shocked team to face three more tests without him, starting on Boxing Day in Melbourne. The captaincy will be held by Ajinkya Rahane.
A disconsolate Kohli said It’s very difficult to put those feelings into words.”
When we landed, we had a 60-odd lead and then we all crashed. We’ve been playing good cricket for two days to get in a spot and then just blow it in an hour. It sure does hurt.
At Lord’s in 1974, India’s previous Test low was 42 against England. Their 36 became the fourth lowest of all time, with the 26 of New Zealand meeting England at Auckland in 1955 the worst ever.
The carnage left Australia, who in the first innings scored 191, needing 90 to win, with out-of-form Joe Burns striking a confidence-building 51 not out, including a six to win the game.
33 were made by Matthew Wade and six by Marnus Labuschagne with Steve Smith, not one.
Cummins lost little time in trouble by eliminating night watchman Jasprit Bumrah for two over the day in the second, enticing him to drive at a slower ball that popped back up to him.
That took to the crease the stubborn Cheteshwar Pujara. He saw Cummins off and off, but that was as sweet as it was for the veteran who had dropped without scoring. A ball that had to be played was sent down by Cummins, the number one Test bowler in the country, and Pujara picked an edge that carried to wicketkeeper Paine.
It left India for three on 15, and only got worse with Mayank Agarwal’s opener back in the pavilion five balls later for nine, caught by Paine on Hazlewood’s opening delivery again.
Hazlewood and Paine joined again for naught to get rid of Rahane, after which Cummins picked up Kohli’s huge wicket.
Cummins had been smacked for four by the superstar batsman, but after a study, the next ball was out, shot by debutant Cameron Green as he tried a cover drive.
India was in real danger of achieving their lowest ever score at 19 for six, and it became a reality when Wriddhiman Saha (4) chipped a Hazlewood delivery to Marnus Labuschagne and Ravi Ashwin was out next ball.
They were saved any embarrassment by a four from Hanuma Vihari, bringing India past New Zealand’s all-time low. But Vihari (8) did not last much longer, caught again by Paine with Hazlewood doing the damage to complete an outstanding five-wicket haul, before Mohammed Shami was forced to retire injured after his right arm was struck by a Cummins thunderbolt.