From the Viewsroom

Mayhem in Adelaide

B Baskar | Updated on December 24, 2020

Sometimes even the best laid plans in Test cricket can come to nought

Who would have thought that India’s 46-year old record of the lowest score in a Test innings will be broken by a team led by Virat Kohli. But that is precisely what happened in Adelaide last Saturday. Despite the dropped catches India still got a handy lead of 50-plus runs and were mostly ahead in the six sessions that preceded the mayhem on Saturday afternoon.

It’s sometimes hard to explain why things unfold the way they do on a cricket pitch. A flabbergasted Kohli, in the post-match interview, said, a touch unfairly, that the batsmen did not show enough “intent”. But before even they could show some “intent” the balls just flew off their bats’ edges and landed safely in the hands of the wicketkeeper or slip fielders. Also if they had got out playing their shots early, in a bid to seize the initiative, they would have been pilloried by ex-players, pundits, media and all and sundry for not playing themselves in and building a platform. The fact is the Indian batsmen batted in the second innings just the way they did in the first – but as Shane Warne said in his commentary, only this time the ball somehow managed to find the edge unerringly.

For all the entourage of chief coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, “throwdown” specialists, an array of physios, video analysts, number crunchers, psychologists et al, we still have a team that finishes its second innings at 36 for 9. This clearly shows that however hard we try to make the game “scientific” there are still too many imponderables that are outside the control of the game’s practitioners as well as coaches.

The pundits and fans alike will analyse this innings till the cows come home and will still be none the wiser. Cricket’s most worn-out cliché – “glorious uncertainties” – it seems can still laugh at the game’s most professionalised and corporatized era.

With Kohli set to return home, the Indian team can still redeem itself if it forgets the Adelaide nightmare and takes the fight to the Aussies for the rest of the series.

Published on December 24, 2020

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