Australia v India: How Virat Kohli’s side were skittled for 36


India’s Virat Kohli looked shellshocked after his side’s collapse

In the hallway of the broadcast area of Adelaide Oval straight after play, former Australia Test bowler Damien Fleming was wide-eyed.

“I see it, I see 36, but I don’t believe it,” he said. “It’s insane. The last time I saw that would have been under-12s.”

His disbelief is understandable. How does a team – the modern, professional India team from the world’s most famously cricket-mad country – get skittled in a Test match for 36?

Test cricket’s momentous episodes come at you fast. Even faster in contrast to the mostly slow and daydreaming passages of play from which they are born.

Yet the Adelaide Test of 2020 had not been slow, careering through its first two days and nights at the pace some white-ball matches develop. But even so, the third innings being completed in 21.2 overs was an acceleration that nobody saw coming.

If you are watching the start of a day’s play and the nightwatchman gets out, that’s no big deal. Another wicket a few overs later is significant – the obdurate number three removed for a duck – but that’s not unusual.

The remaining opener gets a nick the following over.

It’s 15-4, but you tell yourself the score looks worse because it includes the promoted tailender. The next pair will adapt their approach and settle into some sort of a rebuild, you think. They should at least get the score to 60 or 70 and get things going.

Except they don’t. Another wicket falls on the same score as the previous three, the team’s vice-captain feathering a catch behind.

The skipper hits a defiant boundary but then gets caught in the gully.

The tail is not much chop, the side is 19-6, and all of a sudden you realise the lowest score in Test historyexternal-link is in play.

India’s players avoided the indignity of crumbling for fewer than 26, but didn’t go much better, setting a new low score for their country.

Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood have been touted as Australia's greatest ever pace attack
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have been touted as Australia’s greatest ever pace attack

“It was staggering, you could not quite believe your eyes at the speed at which it was happening,” reflected commentator Alison Mitchell.

“First of all four wickets for no run, then five for four in 35 balls, the innings unravelling. We’ve all seen collapses around the world, but this just happened so quickly, in the blink of an eye.”

The feeling around the ground was one of disbelief. This year’s pandemic-affected Adelaide Oval was different to previous years: the crowd more sparse, more spaced out, no sign of the usual social areas outside the seating bowl.

The bays of India supporters had brought most of the noise. Abruptly, they became extremely quiet. Virat Kohli’s boundary got a cheer, but there was the sense by then that everyone was swept up in the inevitability of India’s demise.

Even from Australia supporters, the last few wickets didn’t so much bring cheers of celebration but more sedate noises of affirmation: of course they were out. Everyone gets out today.

People will naturally speculate whether the playing surface was a minefield. It wasn’t.

It’s true there was longer grass than previous years, in response to David Warner’s 335 not out a year ago.

Before the match, when I asked head groundsman Damien Hough if that would mean more movement, he smiled knowingly and said: “I hope so.”

But his pitch was ideal: there was pace and lift, some sideways movement, and that was it.

“It wasn’t excessive,” said Fleming. “But they didn’t bowl a bad ball. And India’s bowlers could rightly feel like ‘what have we done?’ I wouldn’t have wanted to see Australia chasing 180 on that.”

It came down to the quality of the bowlers. The ABC’s lead commentator Jim Maxwell, having seen six decades of cricket at first hand, was fulsome in his praise.

“I think those Australian pace bowlers are arguably the finest trio we’ve ever had, in terms of their ability to strike,” he told the BBC. “It was a remarkably skilful performance on a pitch that offered just enough.

“You only have to look at the strike rates of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to realise when they’re on, they’re going to do things like that. A bit of assistance, that’s all it needs with bowlers of that skill.

“We’ve seen it with Trent Bridge and Stuart Broad, if you get on a roll. As we all know, the most difficult time to bat is when you’re on nought.”

India supporters at Adelaide Oval
India supporters had very little to cheer after the opening minutes of the third day of the first Test at Adelaide

Mitchell saw things similarly. “The bowling was first class. Most of the wickets were to vertical-bat shots. It wasn’t as though the batsmen were slogging or chasing wide deliveries,” she said.

Really the only dismissals that suggested batsman error were Kohli chasing a wide ball, and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha flicking airborne to mid-wicket.

Otherwise, Cummins and Hazlewood shared nine wickets between them by smart bowling. There were no miracle balls jagging back a mile. There were short balls to discomfort the lower order, but everything else just hit the right length, banging down on the seam, and making it move a little.

Just a little, for Cummins to deck away from Cheteshwar Pujara’s chamois-soft defence. Just a little for Hazlewood’s first ball of the innings to nick off Mayank Agarwal. Just a little for Ajinkya Rahane to be drawn into a shot by shape in the air.

An edge first ball for Ravichandran Ashwin, another for Hanuma Vihari and Hazlewood finished with figures of 5-8. Cummins ended with 4-21, being denied the chance of a fifth only by forcing Mohammed Shami to retire hurt.

For Maxwell, it’s also part of a revolution at Adelaide, with greenery required for pink-ball matches at what used to be a venue for big runs. “We associate three-day Test matches in Australia with every other ground but this place,” he said.

“We’ve now seen the two quickest Test matches ever played on this ground, and both in pink-ball Test matches in recent years. The first one in 2015, and this one was quicker.

“That does say something about the format. And the change in this pitch from the old days, where there were many timeless Tests played on this ground.

“It will be an interesting discussion next time India come to Australia about whether they’ll want to play another.”

Equally interesting might be how England’s team will feel about an Ashes day-nighter in Adelaide one year from now.

Watching India’s fate from afar might be unnerving, but the pink-ball match was the most competitive on the previous visit in 2017, suiting England’s bowlers. No-one has a monopoly on movement at pace, it’s just about who can harness it.

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Virat Kohli’s calamitous run out with century beckoning gives hosts the edge


It was not how Kohli had seen things panning out. Knowing he was only playing one Test in Australia this summer before returning home to be with his wife for the birth of his first child, he had walked out onto Adelaide Oval intent on making it count.

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For several hours it appeared he was on track to do just that, ready as he was with an answer for just about everything including a short-ball barrage from Pat Cummins and Starc that at one point drew blood from his thumb.

Having carefully constructed an innings spanning 180 balls, he hadn’t realised the greatest danger would come from his partner up the other end.

Kohli was left in no man’s land as Rahane pushed a ball from Nathan Lyon to mid-off, called “yes” then “no” to his captain, who had committed to the run before being turned back. With Josh Hazlewood firing a straightforward throw to Lyon at the non-striker’s end, the only word left for Rahane to say to a furious Kohli was “sorry”.

Lyon was reminded by teammates of his infamous missed run out in the Ashes thriller at Headingley last year after removing the bails.

“It’s good to be back on the board after the Ashes so I’m pretty stoked with that,” Lyon said.

“Josh ran up to me saying ‘he’s back, he’s back’. There was a bit of banter being thrown around out there.“

The calamitous dismissal meant Australia did not pay too steep a price for potentially letting Kohli off the hook earlier in the day when, with the batsman on 16, they hesitated with a chance to try and remove him via the Decision Review System.

That incident occurred following the tea break after captain Tim Paine had appealed for a catch when Kohli had tried to turn a ball from Lyon down the leg side.

The bowler himself wasn’t as interested as Paine or the nearby Matthew Wade, nor was umpire Bruce Oxenford, who gave it not out, and Paine allowed the DRS clock to count down, opting not to mount a review with third umpire Rod Tucker.

However, replays indicated the ball might have just brushed Kohli’s glove and the Hot Spot thermal imaging technology appeared to show a small mark even if Snicko didn’t.

“From my angle, it was totally out of sight for me. It wasn’t my best ball and I couldn’t hear any noise. It was quite windy out there,” Lyon said.

“We didn’t really hear anything. Wadey said there was a sound and it looked to be in the right area but at the end of the day we weren’t 100 per cent sure about that. And even talking to Virat, he said he didn’t feel anything on his glove. Some days you get them, some days you don’t.”

Paine seized on a later opportunity to remove India’s marathon man Cheteshwar Pujara with a review, ending his 160-ball 43 when an inside edge from Lyon flew to Marnus Labuschagne at leg slip.

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Kohli and Rahane, though, still looked on track to make it India’s night until the self-inflicted setback and Rahane’s own exit for 42.

When Hazlewood then had Hanuma Vihari leg-before for 16, India were suddenly on a slippery slope, although Wriddhiman Saha and Ravi Ashwin managed to hold out until stumps to leave the match well poised.

Australia had earlier put the tourists on the back foot immediately when Privthi Shaw chopped the second ball of the match from Starc onto his stumps, lighting up the flashing pink bails that the left-arm quick has been no stranger to setting off.

India were then 2-32 when an outstanding Cummins sent fellow opener Mayank Agarwal packing in the same fashion, bowling him through the gate for 17.

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The Australian bowling quartet was assisted by Cameron Green, called “Jungle” in the field by Paine.

Green, who became Australia’s 459th men’s Test cricketer, was picked primarily as a batting all-rounder but was eager to demonstrate what he could provide with the ball with his 198cm frame.

After being brought into the attack with 10 minutes left until the tea break, he put Pujara on notice immediately with a short ball the No.3 fended to short leg but was so excited he had overstepped and was called for a no-ball.

Green impressed in his first outing, however, regularly tipping over the 140km/h mark, keeping the pressure on the batsmen and taking it off Australia’s other bowlers.

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Virat Kohli’s right-hand man set free after 24 days


After uncertainty about when he would be set free sources said “Raghu”, as the quietly-spoken sidearm specialist is known by the India team, was being let out on Thursday night.

With the three-match T20 series starting at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Friday night, he will reunite with Kohli and the tourists in Sydney on Saturday.

D Raghavendra delivers throwdowns on India’s tour of Australia in 2018-19.Credit:Getty Images

Raghavendra wasn’t the first or only member of a cricket squad or support staff to have to quarantine upon entering Australia for the summer but his 24 days were more than most.

One person who did serve longer was Australia coach Justin Langer, who spent 14 days at the new hotel at Adelaide Oval after returning from the limited-overs tour of England in September and then another fortnight in a Perth hotel because of his home state’s hard border.

Langer, however, was at least permitted to train with players while isolating in Adelaide.

Raghavendra hasn’t had that small luxury in three and a half weeks staring at four walls.

His release will be welcomed by the Indian side. He is not a player but is a rarity in world cricket in that he is a full-time touring practitioner of the “wanger”, a modified version of a tennis ball launcher for dogs that is used to fling cricket balls at batsmen in the training nets. His close association with Kohli and India’s other leading batsmen has led to thousands of words being written about him in the Indian press.

Australia and most other sides don’t have their own travelling throwdowns man but Raghavendra is a hugely valued member of the Indian staff for his ability to repeatedly hurl balls at more than 150kmh to batsmen, giving them crucial practice for facing fast bowling since he joined them on the road full-time in 2013.

He was due to begin training with the Indian batsmen over the weekend, when the travelling party will split up, with Kohli leading the T20 side in the second and third matches of the 20-over series against Australia at the SCG while other players take the field against Australia A in a red-ball warm-up game at Drummoyne Oval starting on Sunday.

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CA confident of full house for Kohli’s Sydney farewell after NSW eases restrictions


It is somewhat apt the venue which on a Friday the 13th in March gave Sydneysiders the first eerie glimpse of sport without fans will be the one welcoming them back in droves.

David Warner and Aaron Finch marched on to an empty SCG to take on New Zealand in early March.Credit:AAP

The sight of an empty SCG was in contrast to the memorable women’s T20 World Cup final when more than 86,000 fans packed the MCG. Amongst the crowd was a spectator who tested positive to coronavirus days later.

Not long after, the AFL, NRL, Super Rugby and the A-League followed in cricket’s footsteps by locking out fans and then suspending their seasons.

The first two games of the one-day international series in Sydney last week drew crowds of 17,573 and 17,821 to an SCG that was operating at 50 per cent capacity.

“A series that has broken records on and off the field deserves a full house and that is exactly what we will have for the final T20 International between the Australian and Indian men’s teams at the SCG on Tuesday, December 8,” CA’s head of fan engagement Anthony Everard said.

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“The Aussie men’s team were the first in the country to play to a locked out stadium when the pandemic struck in March.

“Now, nine months later and at the very same venue, we will be the first sporting team to play to a full stadium in NSW following confirmation today’s announcement by the NSW Government.

“Tickets for Tuesday’s T20 International sold out within hours when capacity was at 50 per cent and we anticipate similarly high levels of interest when the new tickets are released.

“We would like to thank the NSW Government and look forward to playing in front of many more of our brilliant fans than was originally envisaged.”

But Ms Berejiklian warned restrictions would be reimposed if there was an outbreak.

“We will be forced to go backwards if there is an outbreak,” she said. “What we’ve tried to achieve here is a healthy balance of giving people freedom and allowing businesses to flourish, while also maintaining those basic principles of living in a COVID-safe way.”

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Virat Kohli’s India fined 20 per cent of match fee for slow over rate


The Indian cricket team’s players have been fined 20 per cent of their match fee for a slow over rate during Friday’s ODI at the SCG.

Although teams are allocated three-and-a-half hours to complete 50 overs in the field, Virat Kohli’s side required more than four hours.

The ICC confirmed Kohli had pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the sanction, which was imposed by match referee David Boon.

“Boon imposed the sanction after Virat Kohli’s side was ruled to be one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration,” the ICC said in a statement.

“On-field umpires Rod Tucker and Sam Nogajski, TV umpire Paul Reiffel and fourth umpire Gerard Abood levelled the charge.”

Virat Kohli during the wicket of Australia's David Warner.
Camera IconVirat Kohli during the wicket of Australia’s David Warner. Credit: News Corp Australia

Friday’s ODI was scheduled to conclude at 10:10pm local time, but the final ball was eventually delivered at 11:09pm, eight-and-a-half hours after the game got underway.

Although pitch invaders briefly delayed proceedings in the afternoon, their five-minute escapade did not excuse India’s poor over rate.

Australian spin bowler Zampa acknowledged Friday’s late finish was not the best look for the game, but assured reporters both teams would do better during Sunday’s ODI at the same venue.

“I don’t know what the ruling should be or if there should be a punishment but something definitely has to be done about it,” Zampa said.

“It will definitely improve. And hopefully after getting those cobwebs out and getting those miles in the legs you’ll see some more intensity in the next two games.

“It does take a long while to get back in the swing of things, particularly in ODI cricket … if you haven’t played for a while the intensity isn’t quite there I think.”



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Cricket 2020: CA concerned by Virat Kohli’s first child’s due date, Nine T20 World Cup drama


Indian captain and cricket superstar Virat Kohli has revealed he and his wife, actor Anushka Sharma, are expecting their first child due January.

The pair, who were married in December 2017, were beaming in the photo with Sharma revealing her baby bump, as Kohli is in isolation in the UAE before the start of the Indian Premier league on September 19.

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Aussies arrive in England

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CA concerned by Virat Kohli’s first child’s due date, Nine T20 World Cup drama


Indian captain and cricket superstar Virat Kohli has revealed he and his wife, actor Anushka Sharma, are expecting their first child due January.

The pair, who were married in December 2017, were beaming in the photo with Sharma revealing her baby bump, as Kohli is in isolation in the UAE before the start of the Indian Premier league on September 19.

Watch every ball of Australia’s Tour of England Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >

While video of the Indian skipper training in his hotel room was shared on social media, the baby news went viral as the internet erupted with well wishes and memes.

The post, which simply says “And then, we were three! Arriving Jan 2021” has was liked more than 300,000 times in the first three hours after posting with more than 42,000 retweets and 20,000 comments.

While good personal news for one of the biggest names in World Cricket, the news is set to make officials at Cricket Australia nervous.

The Courier Mail reported Australian cricket will be “holding their breath” as the availability of Kohli for the tour already coming under question.

The Australia Vs India Tour starts with three T20’s on October 11, before the first test on December 3, before finishing with three ODIs starting January 12, 2021.

Kohli is one of world cricket’s biggest drawcards and the tour itself starts in what is set to the third trimester.

Along with COVID restrictions and concerns, the office at Cricket Australia will be nervous one of the world’s true superstars won’t face off in the series with the Indian tour worth a reported $300 million to the sport in Australia.

As well as being one of the best batsmen in the world, Kohli was involved in some of the spiciest moments of India’s last tour Down Under with a running battle with Aussie captain Tim Paine.

It has been a tough time for Cricket Australia despite the COVID-19 pandemic only two one-day internationals against New Zealand and four Sheffield Shield matches were postponed or cancelled from Australia’s last summer.

But this summer has already seen an impact with the T20 World Cup that was set to kick off the local season postponed until 2022.

SMH reported Channel 9 was arguing its T20 World Cup deal is invalid with Nine CEO Hugh Marks saying “for the moment, we’re out” of the competition’s broadcast deal.

“Our view is that the contract has been frustrated,” he said on Thursday. ”We had a contract for an event held in October-November this year. That is not happening. That event has been cancelled and our contract has been frustrated.

“So we will talk to all relevant parties about those rights when they become available again but at this point there is no concrete details, so for the moment we are out.”



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