“36 all-out – India’s lowest ever score in Test history. The previous lowest was 42 against England way back in 1974. That was also in the third innings of the match but India were following on. Again, this has been the very first instance in all of the Test cricket that all 11 batsmen, and extras, couldn’t cross single-figures in an innings!”

 

The Pink Ball Test is fun!

Indeed, it is fun!

Under the lights, the Pink Ball always gives the impression that something is always about to happen and even against the run of play, the total scenario can change in the twinkle of an eye. Since the Day-Night test cricket commenced, none could say, they enjoyed a dull moment.

With the movement of the ball, the bowlers test the technique and temperament of the batsmen and something, which is very rare in this age of the circus shows named T20 cricket. Everywhere, it is the world for the batters, and the concept of commercialization – everyone loves to see boundaries rather than the skill-sets of the bowlers – is such a poor one. Such a concept has hampered the balance of the game very much – mediocrity is dominating and below-par cricketers have started to outshine the quality ones.

This cannot be cricket at all.

Somehow, in this age of crazy-money-earning tendency, test cricket is still alive and teams like Australia, England, and New Zealand, still play the game with the right kind of spirits – they were not fully the victims of the diseases named IPL, BBL, CPL, BPL, and PSL.

But let’s talk about Test cricket – the Pink Ball Test!

The much-awaited Border-Gavaskar Trophy started and in this case, the venue for the first Test of the Australian summer is not Brisbane, but Adelaide. Okay fine, no problem, starting the summer with the Pink Ball would be fun and after thrashing Bangladesh in the Pink Ball Test last year, Virat Kohli said, he was well prepared for the Pink Ball test Down Under.

Last year, Bangladesh was humiliated and their meek surrender was painful to watch – neither were they prepared for the Day-Night Test, nor were they had the intent to fight – the outcome was disastrous, which helped to boost the confidence of India.

The Indian start in Adelaide was satisfactory.

Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara led the fight on Day 1 against a very competent Australian bowling attack.

Both the batsmen were resolute enough and exhibited the right kind of technical efficiency, which is required to win the sessions in Test cricket – it is all about occupying the crease and leaving the ball rather than having a go at the bowlers on a dead-deck.

Nathan Lyon, the wily offspinner from Australia, might be the only offie in modern-day cricket, who is at home in exploiting the bounce of the wicket. Normally, the bounce on the deck is a blessing for the wrist spinners, but Lyon has mastered the ability to use the bounce because if you have to feature in the Australian line-up regularly, you need to learn such and feature in the home Tests.

Lyon consistently pitched the ball on the back of a length – six meters away from the middle and offstump line – the ball bounced and turned, threatening to kiss the inside edge.

Pujara countered those with his feet more often but in one moment, he decided to defend with hard hands by dragging his front foot forward – the ball kissed the inside edge and went to the hands of the short-leg.

This was one of the smartest moments of Day 1, which could only be seen in test matches.

Virat was run out and India lose their way, but the Indian bowlers came back roaring on Day 2 leaving Australia reeling.

Similarly, take Steve Smith out of this Australian batting line-up, the rest hardly possesses the ability to fight.

Ravi Ashwin brought the mid-on up against Smith while bowling the first one.

Smith has a staggering batting average of 80 against India and the entire Indian unit knows very well the importance of this scalp.

Anyhow, Ashwin’s first ball was an offbreak, which Smith tracks well and pushes down the ground – the single was not taken. The next delivery was the same and the single was stopped.

The next delivery was another offbreak – but a tad flatter with the seam facing towards the square-leg rather than short-leg – the ball did not turn and Smith tried to play that like an offbreak – the big fish was hooked.

Not the kind of misjudgment one would expect from Smith.

Australia started to shrink until the skipper Tim Paine arrested a petty collapse.

While the Australian bowlers attacked the stumps more and pitched it fuller than the Indians, the Australians found the going tougher courtesy of poor shot selection and despite the sloppy fielding, they failed to take a lead.

India were on a high and on Day 3, the stage was set for the visitors to bat Australia out of the game.

India resumed at 9 for 1 with the lead of 62, having lost Prithvi Shaw late the previous evening, whose back lift and defence need to be fixed because T20 has affected it badly. The intention was to repeat the feat of 2018-19, but in the end, everything went wrong.

Pat Cummins collected a low return catch off nightwatchman Jasprit Bumrah and India experienced a nightmare in broad daylight!

Pujara was undone by a marvelous delivery from Cummins, which pitched in the middle-and-leg stump line and then cut-back to cut Che into halves – Australia were hungry for more and the Indian batters fed them with their lack of fight and resolute.

Josh Hazlewood went for the kill and the Indian batters surrendered like Bangladesh.

Kohli left the balls outside zillion times in the first innings, but as soon as he was lured into a drive outside the off, he went for it and the Indian disgrace was just a matter of time.

36 all-out – India’s lowest ever score in Test history. The previous lowest was 42 against England way back in 1974. That was also in the third innings of the match but India were following on.

Again, this has been the very first instance in all of the Test cricket that all 11 batsmen, and extras, couldn’t cross single-figures in an innings!

What a shameful display from the richest most powerful team in world cricket!

Surely, it was fast bowling of great caliber, but one could not say, a Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson was hunting for prey out there, rather, an absolute resolve was what needed for the Indians, which they failed to exhibit.

Hazlewood was sharper than ever.

Cummins was red-hot.

Fully agreed!

But, were they totally unplayable?

India nicked more, played with hard hands, used the feet less and the defence was absent.

Test cricket cannot be played like the Indian Premier League.