The Indian press and former players savaged the national cricket team on Saturday after they slumped to their lowest-ever score in a “humiliating” and “jaw-dropping” Test defeat in Australia.
India were bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the first Test in Adelaide as Australian pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins put the visitors to the sword.
In cricket-crazy India, The Times of India dubbed the performance and the defeat — the hosts cruised to an eight-wicket victory on just the third day — the “massacre in Adelaide”.
“India did almost everything right on Day 2,” the paper said in a lengthy post-mortem. “Day 3 however saw the Aussie fast bowlers especially Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins come out with a vengeance.”
The Indian batting performance — no player got into double figures — was a “jaw-dropping act of meek surrender,” the paper said, calling Hazlewood with his stellar figures of five for eight the “wrecker-in-chief”.
The Indian Express wondered if the “summer of 36” is “Indian cricket’s lowest point”, adding tongue-in-cheek that the players had at least “buried the ghost” of 1974, when the previous record low of 42 was set.
Forty-six years ago when India were thrashed by England at Lord’s, that innings at least saw one player — Eknath Solkar making 18 not out — reach double figures, the paper recalled.
The Republic TV channel on its website called the batting performance “humiliating”, with the middle order of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane “badly exposed”.
Virat Kohli said he was confident that the team would bounce back, but the talismanic Indian skipper is returning home now to be with his Bollywood star wife for the birth of their first child.
With Kohli absent, and a “question mark” over the fitness of key batsman Rohit Sharma, “Team India have a lot to think about,” the Times of India said.
– Gracious Tendulkar –
Former India great Sachin Tendulkar meanwhile was gracious about the defeat, congratulating the Australians.
“With the way India batted & bowled in the 1st innings, they were in the driver’s seat, but the Aussies came back really hard this morning,” he tweeted.
“That is the beauty of Test cricket. It’s NEVER over till it’s over. India was outclassed in the 2nd half. Congratulations to Australia!”
Former India pacer Irfan Pathan said though: “Very disappointed with the result. We all expect the Indian team to play better cricket”.
Kris Srikkanth, a former India opener, captain and selector, was similarly unforgiving.
“All the hard work done by india in the 1st innings lost by pretty pathetic batting in a span of 20 overs! Congrats @CricketAus,” Srikkanth tweeted.
“Time for our boys to dig deep and put a decent total on the board for our bowlers!”
Former India Test player Sanjay Manjrekar said India “clearly needs to improve its defensive skills. Easier said than done in today’s environment.”
Parthiv Patel, another former player, called it “India’s most shameful performance”.
“Players like Virat Kohli, Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane, have all played on the biggest of stages, ” Patel told Cricbuzz.
“Even if you are facing Hazlewood, Starc, Cummins, someone could have put their heads down and at least stitched one partnership.”
Senior journalist Ayaz Memon saw some positives in India’s “superb” bowling performance, warning the Australians to be “beware” in the remaining Tests.
“That said, defeat of this magnitude has thrown team into major turmoil: Kohli unavailable, Shami injured, openers dodgy, Pujara, Rahane, Vehari, Saha unconvincing. Shastri & Co swimming in problems,” he said.