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Australia vs India cricket | First Test reaction, ‘unmitigated disaster’, ‘most shameful performance’

Indian great Bishen Bedi has branded the team’s first Test loss to Australia “an unmitigated disaster”.

And the nation’s media also whacked Virat Kohli’s side after they went from a first-innings lead to all-out for 36 and a humiliating eight-wicket defeat at Adelaide Oval.

The second-innings capitulation, capped by an arm injury to Mohammed Shami when he was struck by Aussie paceman Pat Cummins, was India’s lowest score in Test cricket and the equal-fifth-lowest total in history. It tied the worst Test innings on Australian soil, matching South Africa’s 36 in Melbourne in 1932.

“This is an unmitigated disaster, 36 all out, absolutely,” Bedi told IANS.

“This can’t be explained. Every good ball got a wicket. Mind you, the Indians did not throw away their wickets. They were edging the ball and it was carrying. This is one of those things in cricket that can happen and it has happened. You’ve got to accept it.

“My sympathies are with the Indian team but the Australians really dominated and dwarfed the Indian batting line-up. They surprised the Indians by bowling up [fuller] and the ball was moving a bit. They didn’t bowl short.”

Bedi said that India had erred by opening the batting with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, saying that KL Rahul and Shubman Gill should have been selected instead. The former Test spinner claimed that the glut of Twenty20 cricket played ahead of the series had contributed to low batting totals.

“If you analyse, both teams’ over indulgence in T20 format has left them barren as far as tight defence is concerned,” Bedi said.

“Test match cricket is totally different and we get swayed by over-indulgence in the stupid Indian Premier League. They (India) left for Australia from the United Arab Emirates. This was not the right kind of preparation for the Test matches.”

India will be without veteran fast bowler Shami for the Boxing Day Test due to a fractured arm, while there’s also been a call to change wicketkeepers.

“[Wriddhiman Saha] did not look comfortable, same with Prithvi,” former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta said, per India Today.

“Two innings, generally we say it’s just two innings we can’t judge, you shouldn’t judge, but again, the look of it – both Prithvi and Wriddhiman just tells you that maybe it’s time you look at Rishabh [Pant] – that’s one.

“And secondly, he (Saha) was your first choice, you’ve given him an opportunity and he did not work. Again, it’s not just the quantum, it’s the way he was batting. So I think it’s time to get Rishabh.”

If India heeds the advice being thrown around, there may be mass changes for the second match, with the tourists 0-1 down and champion batsman Kohli returning home for the birth of his first child. There is an appetite for action after the Adelaide debacle.

A Press Trust of India report, carried by The Times of India, branded the loss India’s lowest moment in Test cricket; one that could snowball over the remainder of the tour.

“The Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli faced its worst hour of embarrassment while collapsing to its lowest Test score of 36 as a rampaging Australia cruised to an emphatic eight-wicket victory inside two and half days in the opening day-night Test here on Saturday,” the report said.

“There were no demons in the pitch but Josh Hazlewood (5-8) and Patrick Cummins (4-21) displayed fast bowling of the highest quality, the impact of which will be far reaching with three more Tests to go.”

Former Indian player Parthiv Patel branded the loss “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.”

The collapse seems destined to become known as the ‘Summer of 36’; a reference to the long-lamented ‘Summer of 42’, India’s previous worst Test innings. India made just 42 against England at Lord’s in 1974.

“I never thought I will ever see another day like that,” G R Viswanath, a former Indian captain who played in the 1974 defeat, told the Deccan Herald.

“But sadly, I had to after 46 years. I still remember the day when we got all out for 42, it was a horrible feeling. The whole team was crestfallen. We had that sinking feeling as a team. I can relate to how they (the current players) would be feeling now.”

Writing for the Hindustan Times, Abhishek Paul noted the dramatic reversal of fortunes for Virat Kohli in Adelaide, where the Indian captain scored his maiden Test century in 2012 and twin tons in 2014.

“Adelaide has been unkind to Virat Kohli this time,” Paul wrote.

“A venue that has helped the current India captain at different stages of his career became the venue for India’s most spectacular collapse. Kohli looked shell-shocked after it was over.”

Former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar gleefully sunk the boot into India on his YouTube channel, noting that the score of 36 was worse than the 49 his side made against South Africa in 2013.

“I woke up in the morning and switched on the TV. Could not see the match yesterday night. I saw India had put 369 on the board. Then I rubbed my eyes and saw carefully, I saw it’s 36 and there is slash before 9 and one is retired hurt. Embarrassing loss. Embarrassing batting, world’s mighty batting crumbling down,” Akhtar said.

“They broke our record also. 36 all out! This is disgraceful performance, it’s terrible. But happiest that they broke our (Pakistan’s) record. Anyways, this happens in cricket. Bear it and bear the criticism, this is going to happen to you now. So, mighty India come crumbling down. This is bad news.”

Yet Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar defended the team, saying that Australia’s bowlers had simply had a day out.

“If any other team had been facing that kind of bowling, they would have also got out, maybe be not all-out for 36, maybe 72 or 80-90 but the way Hazlewood, Cummins bowled and and the earlier three-over spell from Starc, they asked a lot of questions,” Gavaskar said on Seven.

“So it’s not fair to blame the Indian batsmen for the way they got out because it was just simply superb bowling by the Australian bowlers.”

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