October 4, 2023

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India’s Lowest Score in Test?: Facts You Must Know

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India’s tour of England in 1974 had descended into chaos after the Lord’s debacle. Then India captain Ajit Wadekar had described the dressing-room atmosphere “funeral-like”. In the aftermath, the Indian team was asked to leave from the High Commissioner’s place, where they had gone for dinner. Sunil Gavaskar has narrated the whole incident in his book Sunny Days.

Opener Sudhir Naik was accused of shoplifting. There had been reports of dressing-room discord. India were clean-swept in the three-Test series and upon their return, Wadekar found himself axed from the West Zone team, and never played for India again.

In Indore, fans defaced the Victory Bat, which was erected after India’s first-ever Test series wins in the West Indies and England in 1971. Tiger Pataudi returned to lead the Indian team in the following home series against the West Indies, in which India fought well but went down 2-3.

Facts you must know:

  1. After 46 years, India ‘buried the ghost’ of 42, slumping to a new low at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. The visitors were shot out for 36 in the second innings against Australia.

  2. The BCCI scorecard shows 36/9, with Mohammed Shami retired hurt. Leaving aside technicalities, however, the innings ended on 36. So, this will be India’s lowest-ever Test total.

  3. In June 1974, India were bowled out for 42 in the second innings against England at Lord’s. That innings had one double-digit score; Eknath Solkar making 18 not out. On Saturday in Adelaide, India’s second innings didn’t have a single double-digit score.

  4. As statistician Mohandas Menon put out on Twitter, India slumping to 19/6 was a new low. They never had such a collapse in their Test history, as India’s previous low was 25/6 against South Africa in the second innings in Durban in 1996. India were dismissed for 66 then.

  5. New Zealand were all out for 26 against England at Auckland in 1955. That remains the lowest. India’s 36 all out on Saturday is the lowest innings total in Tests since 1955.