India’s collapse at Pune left their fans baffled as Australia took control of the game. It isn’t often that India collapse spectacularly on home soil and this was surprising, considering their recent run of success. The Ring Side View picks five unforgettable Indian collapses at home.
The heartbreak at Chennai – India vs Pakistan, 1st Test at Chennai, 1999
A score of 258 doesn’t reflect a collapse but you need to have a closer look. The rivals were facing off in a Test match after nearly ten years and the series was played in the backdrop of political tensions. The first Test at Chennai was a see-saw battle with India needing 271 in the fourth innings to win. The Indian top order crumbled under pressure with only Sachin Tendulkar holding fort. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were breathing fire and Saqlain Mushtaq was spinning a web. At 82 for five, all hopes were pinned on Tendulkar when Nayan Mongia joined him. Tendulkar and Mongia’s 136-run partnership turned the tide in India’s favour. Mongia was dismissed on 53 but Tendulkar soldiered on, battling a back injury, and took India within 17 runs of victory. However, he then lofted one off Saqlain and was caught at mid-off. His dismissal for 136 opened the door for Pakistan and they took the next three wickets within four runs. A look at the scorecard tell you the tale. Out of the 258 runs, 189 were scored by two batsmen. The rest collapsed in a heap.
The Dale Steyn-show – India vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Ahmedabad, 2008
Coming at the back of a run-fest at Chennai, where Virender Sehwag got his second triple century, the teams moved to Ahmedabad where a green surface awaited them. India chose to bat to take on the might of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini. Within 20 overs, India were bowled out for 76. The top five scored a total of 21 runs and it was only due to some “resistance” from MS Dhoni (14) and Irfan Pathan (21 not out) that India managed to reach their eventual score. Steyn showed the way with a fifer and India never recovered from there, slumping on an innings defeat. Jacques Kallis’s century and AB de Villiers’ double did it for the visitors.
Shaun Udal castles India at Mumbai – India vs England, 3rd Test at Mumbai, 2006
Injury-hit England weren’t expected to win but the talismanic Andrew Flintoff led the side well and showed that they had spunk. India led the series 1-0 going into the third and final Test at Mumbai and inexplicably, elected to bowl first. England managed 400 thanks to Andrew Strauss and managed a sizeable lead. Although England were dismissed for 191 in the second innings, the 313-run target was a challenge for India. The start was inauspicious as India lost three for only 33. Tendulkar and Dravid then dealt with the challenge and brought some stability and at 75 for three, India seemed to recover. However, Dravid was dismissed by Flintoff and Udal then got Tendulkar at short-leg. The Indians then collapsed like a pack of cards and were folded for 100. The last seven wickets were lost for only 25 runs.
The first-day surprise – India vs New Zealand, 1st Test at Mohali, 1999
A moist surface did the trick for the visitors in Mohali in 1999. India were put in to bat by New Zealand and were bundled out for 83 in 27 overs. Only three batsmen reached double figures, with Javagal Srinath getting 20 in the end. Tendulkar was the only one from the top order who scored more than 10, with MSK Prasad remaining unbeaten on 16. Dion Nash took six for 27 to stun the hosts. This Test match wasn’t lost by India though as Srinath took six to bowl New Zealand for 215. Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid got centuries in the second essay to leave New Zealand with a target of 374. The pitch had clearly eased out and the visiting batsmen ensured a draw.
Steve O’Keefe spins a web – India vs Australia, 1st Test at Pune, 2017
This game is ongoing and some may say it is premature to add it to the list, but the sheer numbers make it compelling. Firstly, India were 94 for three with KL Rahul batting well. Steve O’Keefe was then brought on from the other end and Rahul played a rash shot to find long-off. Off the next four balls, O’Keefe went on to get Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha. It wasn’t about prodigious turn, but O’Keefe was getting it to turn just about enough to trick the batsmen. With India in shambles, he then dismissed the last three in quick succession. India went from 94 for three to 105 all out, to mark their most spectacular collapse at home.
Scorecard courtesy: ESPNCricinfo