The worst aspect of India’s Adelaide humiliation is that the Test also represented its best chance of a win across the four match series.
India’s captain and best batsman, Virat Kohli, is now leaving Australia to be with wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child.
Absolutely the right call, but Kohli’s departure heaps salt into the wound of 36 all out, India’s lowest ever Test score.
In further good news for Australian fans, star left-hander David Warner has a good shot at returning to the top of the batting order, while Indian quick Mohammed Shami is in doubt.
“Very hard to put those feelings to words,” Kohli said after one of cricket’s truly crazy days, in a truly crazy year.
“We had a lead of 60 odd and just collapsed.
Pat Cummins dismisses Cheteshwar Pujara
“When you work hard for two days and put yourself in a strong position and then an hour puts you in a position where it’s literally impossible to win… I think we should have showed a little more intent today.”
Contrary to pre-match predictions, India had their noses in front for much of the pink ball Test – but failure to execute the basics came back to bite them on the bum.
Kohli won the toss, batted first and looked on track for a superb century before his deputy Ajinkya Rahane ran him out for 74.
India mustered 244 in their first innings but it should have been 300 plus.
The tourists then had Australia on the ropes at 5-79 and 7-111 but a string of dropped catches – some easy, some hard – allowed Tim Paine and company to cobble together 191.
Kohli dudded by vice captain
That proved more than enough as Josh Hazlewood (5-8) and Pat Cummins (4-21) skittled India on the third day by pitching the ball up at good pace.
“They bowled similar kind of areas in the first innings as well but probably our mindset was to score runs,” Kohli said.
“To be honest there were some good balls but the ball didn’t do anything drastic.
“I think it was the mindset, it was very evident.
“It felt like the runs were so difficult to come by and the bowlers got confident.
“I think it was a combination of lack of intent and the bowlers hitting their areas.”
Rahane now takes the reins for the remainder of the Test series as Kohli trades batting practice for nappy training.
His talent, leadership and charisma will all be sorely missed when the battle resumes in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
“Obviously you want to be committed to the team’s cause, a result would have been really nice,” Kohli said.
“But I’m pretty confident that the boys going forward will reflect on this and come back stronger on Boxing Day.”
Kohli said team management were awaiting scan results on Shami, who “could hardly lift his arm.”
Meanwhile, Australia captain Paine was all class as he consoled Kohli and tried to put the day’s events into perspective.
Paine was named man of the match for his fighting 73 not out and seven catches.
“I said this morning in the media that both these attacks have the ability to take quick wickets,” Paine said.
“Didn’t expect them to come this quick.
“When our boys execute and there’s anything in the wicket, this is what can happen.
“When you’re as tall as our boys and as quick as our boys, it can become very difficult so credit to our bowlers again.
“Absolutely rapt with the way we bowled, but our batting was below what we expect.”