A 9/1 overnight score with Prithvi Shaw being the only and expected departure of the innings, India looked to resume play on Day 3 with confidence. Little did Virat Kohli & Co., however, knew about what was awaiting them. As Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood took grabbed the new pink ball in their hands, wickets fell like a house of cards.
Jasprit Bumrah, who had come in the final overs of the second day’s play after Shaw’s dismissal as a nightwatchman, was the first one to depart. It was Pat Cummins who sent Bumrah packing caught & bowled before plotting the dismissal of the ever-reliant Cheteshwar Pujara too.
Pujara departed on a duck, facing 8 deliveries before Mayank Agarwal (9 off 40) became Josh Hazlewood’s first victim of the innings. Hazlewood then really went on a roll and dismissed India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in a very similar fashion as that of Agarwal. Rahane also failed to open his account in 4 balls.
The entire focus shifted to skipper Virat Kohli to arrest the Indian collapse but he could do little before being sent packing by the on-fire Cummins for just 4 runs in 8 balls. An easy catch in the gully region for Cameron Green led to the big dismissal of Kohli.
Wriddhiman Saha and Hanuma Vihari seemed to have brought some stability to the sinking ship but it didn’t take Hazlewood long to break their determination. The pacer succeeded in sending Saha, Vihari and Ashwin back to the pavilion after for scores of 4, 8 and 0 respectively.
Pat Cummins, bowling his 11th over, then hit Mohammed Shami in the arm with a body-line bouncer and the player had to depart retired hurt. The 36 for 9 score turned out to be India’s lowest-ever in Test cricket, beating the previous worst of 42 against England and 7th in the overall list.
India’s dramatic collapse led to a barrage of jokes and memes on social media, with the likes of Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer also contributing heavily.
“The OTP to forget this is 49204084041 ” posted Virender Sehwag.
“Years later there can be KBC question on who was the night watchman in this innings?” wrote Abhijit Ganguly.