Former Indian batsman-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has pinpointed India’s inability to counter top-quality seam-and-swing bowling in the wake of their shambolic performance in the second innings of the Adelaide Test where they succumbed to a record-low of 36 all-out- the cricketing nation’s lowest-ever Test total in its history.
Manjrekar, in his column for Hindustan Times, wrote that it is important to not see the latest collapse in isolation as it has been a recurring theme for the Virat Kohli-led unit in the last two years.
Sanjay Manjrekar specifically pointed out to the New Zealand tour earlier this year where Indian batsmen endured a collective failure in conditions tailor-made for seam-and-swing bowling. The Indians registered scores of 165, 191, 242, 124, and 244 which eventually led to them losing both the Tests by a comfortable margin.
”It’s important to not look at 36 in isolation but at 165, 191,242,124, 244, and then at it. These are team totals in their last three Tests (two in New Zealand) when the ball moved. This is all India could muster, and they lost all three. So, 36 as a low score may be an aberration, but of late India have been incompetent as a batting unit when the ball has swung or seamed,” Sanjay Manjrekar wrote.
Manjrekar pointed out that like most of the other cricket nations, India have an issue when the ball swings around but he reckoned that with the kind of resources that the Men in Blue have at their disposal currently, they need to set a benchmark when it comes to excellence across all formats, just like West Indies and Australia of the past did.
”Like most other countries, India too have an issue when the ball swings. But with all that’s going for Indian cricket in terms of wealth/finance, fan following and years at the highest level, more is expected. India need to set a benchmark for excellence in all formats, like West Indies and Australia did in the past,” he added.
So, what happened on the third afternoon at the Adelaide Oval? According to Sanjay Manjrekar, the pitch had become considerably quicker on the third day while the matty texture of the pitch allowed the ball to bounce a little more besides moving sideways considerably.
”First, the ball was hard and new and the pitch had quickened considerably. It wasn’t sluggish like it was on Day 1 when India batted first. To make matters worse, the matty texture of the pitch allowed the ball released from a high point to do just a little bit after it pitched, that is bounce a little more and move sideways a wee bit,” Sanjay Manjrekar explained.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood exploited the conditions will surgical precision, displaying a masterclass of fast bowling at the expense of the Indians who fell like nine pins to suffer the ignominy of a 36 all-out.