Even before the India-Australia tour kicked off, it was a foregone conclusion that India will have to move mountains if they had any plans of emulating their feat in Australia a couple of years back. Despite all the calculations and inhibitions, the one thing that was least expected to transpire in the entire series was a batting fiasco i.e one of the lowest totals, as massive as other minnows in the Test cricket roster.
It was a debacle so astronomical that it went on to jog hapless and hurting memories of the Indian cricket team which was achieved years back in India’s chequered cricketing antiquity. Despite a strong comeback from India in the first innings, thanks to some rippling bowling attack, spearheaded by Ravichandran Ashwin who managed to scalp four wickets in the first innings, India’s batting in the second innings crumbled like a house of cards in front of the mighty Australian fast bowling unit who made exceptional use of the Corridor of Uncertainty to slay the Indian batting line up.
In the wake of India’s monumental chagrin in front of the world, we will be looking at five of the lowest Test totals that have been registered by India.
- 66 vs South Africa – 1996
Winning the toss, India chose to field first and the South Africans managed to pile up 235 in the first innings, thanks to a painstaking 80 from Andrew Hudson. Unfortunately, India succumbed to a paltry 100 in the first innings with Saurav Ganguly scoring 16 as the highest. Allan Donald scalped 5 wickets in the first innings.
The second innings of South Africa saw Andrew Hudson once again amassing a brilliant half-century laced with significant support from Adam Bacher and Brian McMillan that propelled South Africa to a fine 259, leaving India a mountain to climb.
Haplessly, India couldn’t even come close to the target. They were decimated for a modest 66 which saw Rahul Dravid putting up the solitary resistance as he scored a sedulous 27 from 73 balls. The White Lightning and Shaun Pollock shared 7 wickets between them that left India reeling at ground zero.
- 58 vs England – 1952
India was still nascent in their test journey, and they were getting acclimatized to the brutality of the outfits who were a part of this contention for a considerable time. England came out to bat first and was off to a flyer that saw Sir Leonard Hutton blasting a blistering ton in the first innings. Peter May and Godfrey Evans hammered fine knocks that saw India being pushed to the backfoot. England managed to pile up 347 for the loss of 9 wickets.
Indian batsmen started stuttering from the very beginning and even before they released that what has struck them, England cleaned up India with consummate ease. Vijay Hazare and Vijay Manjrekar posted minimal resistance before India bent down to a meagre 58. England asked India to follow on and the scenario was nothing better than the first.
Hemu Adhikari scored the highest with 27 runs while Vijay Hazare and Khokhan Sen were the two other batsmen who could reach double figures before England rolled up India for a modest 82, thereby winning the game by an innings and 207 runs.
- 58 vs Australia – 1947
Wriggling free from the clutches of colonial dictatorship, India was battling their emergence in the international cricket roster. It was in one such Test match against Australia in 1947, where India was up against the mighty Australian team that comprised the likes of Donald Bradman and the fiery pace duo of Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller.
Sir Don Bradman blasted a resonating 185 in the first innings that were well-supported by Lindsay Hassett and Keith Miller in the first innings helping Australia to pile up a mammoth 382 for the loss of 8 wickets before they chose to declare the innings. Lala Amarnath was the pick of the slew as he managed to pick up 4 wickets.
Haplessly, India skittled out like a house of cards in front of the formidable Australia bowling line-up with Ernie Toshack registering 5 wickets in only 2.3 overs. In response to Australia’s 384, India was dismissed for a paltry 58 in the first innings.
Once asked to follow on, India was in further deep waters as Chandu Sarwate was the solitary one to post 26 and the rest of the batsmen took long walks to the pavilion as India was dismissed for a meagre 98 in the second innings. Ernie Toshack was at the helm of destruction again that saw him chronicling 6 wickets in a span of 17 overs.
- 42 vs England – 1974
The Mecca of cricket stayed witness to one of India’s biggest batting downfall ever that saw them bundled out for a paltry 42 against the hosts. Batting first England strung a massive total of 629 runs that featured a blistering 188 from Dennis Amiss, a scintillating 96 from John Edrich, a sublime 118 from the skipper, Mike Denness and a rollicking 106 from Tony Greig.
Bishan Singh Bedi went on to concede 226 runs but was able to pick up 6 wickets in the process. India did start on a categorical note as Sunil Gavaskar and Farokh Engineer started with the initial fight. Haplessly, once the opening duo slipped, Gundappa Vishwanath and Eknath Solkar came together to stave away the fall as much as they could, but the efforts weren’t enough. Chris Old and Mike Hendrick ripped through the Indian batting line up.
Asked to follow on, India’s second innings was all over the place, thanks to some rippling bowling from Geoff Arnold who picked up 4 wickets, and Chris Old who scalped 5. Eknath Solkar was the solitary batsman to reach double figures while the remaining batsmen were shown the exit in the most exemplary fashion, cutting the visitors down to 42.
- 36 vs Australia – 2020
If humiliation had a synonym, that was India’s second innings at Adelaide in the first test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, 2020. Batting first, India managed to garner 244 runs. Kohli, Rahane, and Pujara pulled off the best from their belt to combat the seraphic pace force from Starc, Hazlewood, and Cummins.
However, the Indian bowlers pulled off a scintillating effort that saw them bundling Australia out for 191. Ashwin was the pick of the slew as he managed to pick up 4 wickets in the process. With a healthy lead in hand, India was very well in the driver’s seat until tragedy struck.
Within just 21 overs, Australia swept India clean for 36 runs, thanks to some brilliant bowling effort from Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Cummins picked up 4 wickets from his 10 overs while Hazlewood claimed 5 from his 5 overs.
With only 91 to win, Australia cruised to victory with no kinks in their chase at all. Burns and Wade did the damage as India was left agonizing for ages to come.