Even if you missed every bit of play from Adelaide on Day 3, find yourself a clip of Virat Kohli walking off the field at the end of it all. The emotions on his face is all you need to know the shocker India had on the day to hand the contest to Australia – by eight wickets – after coming into the day expecting to build a substantial lead and bat the hosts out of the game.
India were able to manage just 36 for 9 (with Shami retired hurt) – their lowest total in Test cricket – as Australia wrapped up India’s innings in a hurry. Josh Hazlewood bagged 5 for 8 while Pat Cummins had four wickets for 21 as the India batsmen failed to come to terms with the challenge thrown at them. “It really hurts,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “We probably didn’t have enough intent in the batting today.
“It’s very hard to put those feeling into words. We had a lead of 60-odd when we arrived. And then we just collapsed. We played two days of good cricket to get in a position and then just lose it in an hour.”
Kohli felt the mindset of the batsmen in the second innings led to their downfall as they went into their shell instead of looking for runs. “The bowlers bowled similar kind of areas in the first innings as well, but then our mindset was to get runs,” the India captain pointed out. “There were some good balls but I don’t think it did anything drastic. Just the atmosphere was created where runs were difficult to come by. I think it was a combination of both – lack of intent, and bowlers bowling in good areas.”
“I think the way we batted allowed them to look more potent than they probably were in the morning, to be honest,” Kohli added, in the post-match press conference. “Because they bowled similar lengths in the first innings as well and we batted way, way better in the first innings than in the second innings obviously.”
The Indian skipper also felt the absence of intent could’ve been because of the tricky first-innings lead. “A bit of a lead can always be tricky, because as a batting unit you can go into a headspace where you feel like we’re just 50-60 ahead so you don’t want to lose early wickets so the oppostion comes into the game. You’ve always got to be positive, you can’t think like that. Hence I said that we lacked intent.”
Even as Kohli termed Saturday morning’s batting performance as perhaps the worst India have had, he was upbeat about the team bouncing back in Melbourne, even without him.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a worse batting performance. So we can only go upwards from here and understand that as a team we can do special things when we think of partnerships and think of batting together,” he said.
“I am confident the boys going forward will reflect on this and come up with a better result on Boxing Day,” he said.
The visitors will now also be sweating over the fitness of Mohammed Shami who had to retire hurt after coping a blow to his arm. “He is going for a scan. He was in a lot of pain, could hardly lift his arm. Probably in the evening we’ll know exactly what is happening,” Kohli revealed.
Tim Paine, who was the Man of the Match for his first innings contribution of unbeaten 73, admitted he didn’t expect the wickets to come this quickly for his team. “I said in the media in the morning that both these attacks have the ability to take quick wickets. I didn’t expect it to come that quick and was expecting a real dogfight,” he said. “Chuffed with the way we bowled in this Test. It is nice to get off to a good start. Full credit to our bowling attack again.”