(AFP) – The Indian press and former players rescued the national cricket team on Saturday after falling to their lowest ever score in defeating an “embarrassing” and “jaw-dropping” Test in Australia.
India were bundled for 36 in the second innings of the first Test in Adelaide as Australia’s fast-paced managers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins handed the visitors the sword.
In a crazy cricketing India, The Times of India transferred the performance and defeat – cruising the hosts to a victory of eight wickets on the third day only – the “Adelaide massacre”.
“India did almost everything right on Day 2,” the paper said. “However, on day 3, Aussie fast bowlers especially Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins came out with a vengeance.”
India’s batting performance – no player even reached double figures – was a “jaw-dropping act of gentle surrender,” said the paper, calling Hazlewood with its stellar figures of five for eight a “foremost wrecker”.
The Indian Express wondered if “summer 36” was “the lowest point of Indian cricket”, adding a tongue in the cheek that players had at least “buried the spirit” of 1974, when the previous record low of 42 was set.
Forty-six years ago when India were defeated by England at Lord’s, innings at least saw one player – Eknath Solkar make 18 not out – reach double figures, the paper recalled.
The TV channel Republic on its website called the batting performance “humbling”, with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane’s middle order “very open”.
Virat Kohli said he was confident the team would bounce back, but the Indian talisman diver is now returning home 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 has a lot to think about,” said the Times of India.
– Gracious Tendulkar –
Former Indian great Sachin Tendulkar was gracious about the defeat, congratulating the Australians.
“With the way India batted and bowled in the 1st inning, they were in the driver’s seat, but the Aussies came back really hard this morning,” he tweeted.
“That’s the beauty of Test cricket. It’s never over until it’s over. India was dispatched in the 2nd half. Congratulations to Australia! ”
Former India manager Irfan Pathan said he was “very disappointed”, adding: “We all expect the Indian team to play better cricket.”
Kris Srikkanth, India’s former opener, captain and selector, was equally unforgettable.
“All the hard work done by india in the first few posts lost by quite pathetic batting in a span of 20 overs! Congratulations @CricketAus, ”Srikkanth tweeted.
“Time for our boys to dig deep and put a decent total on the table for our bowlers!”
Former Parthiv Patel called him “India’s most shameful performance”.
“Players like Virat Kohli, Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane have all played on the biggest stages,” Patel told Cricbuzz.
“Even if you’re facing Hazlewood, Starc, Cummins, someone could have put their heads down and at least stitched one partnership.”
– Some sympathy – Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar defended Kohli’s men, saying any batting side would have battled Australia’s “super simple” bowling attack. “That is, any team that is out for its lowest Test score since the time it started playing cricket, that is never good to see,” Indian media quoted Gavaskar as telling Channel 7.
“But having said that if any other team had faced that kind of bowling, they would have gone out too.”
Australian spin legend Shane Warne praised the “excellent” bowling but also expressed some sympathy for the visitors.
“It must be felt for the Indian batsman as he never saw it coming – it was one of those days where the batsman was licking everything and not playing and losing at all! Unbelievable, ”Warne tweeted.
Former India ruler RP Singh expressed optimism about the rest of the four-game series: “We have bounced back in the past and this team can do that too.”
But former England captain Michael Vaughan was having none of it.
“Say ya… India is going to be hammered in the Test Series… #AUSvIND # 4-0,” he tweeted.