Comparing India’s 2 lowest Test totals: 1974 vs Eng & 2020 vs Aus

India’s lowest Test innings total of 36 on Saturday at the Adelaide Oval against Australia is in many ways different from their previous lowest of 42 that Ajit Wadekar’s team managed in 1974 at Lord’s against England.

Though there was one major similarity — India did not lose all 10 wickets as the No. 11 on both occasions was injured.

To start with, the Lord’s innings came after the Indian team was already under the cosh following on in the face of a 327-run deficit. England had hammered 629 in the first innings and India could reply with 302 in their first. India already had their backs to the wall entering the second innings back then, unlike this time when they went into the disastrous second innings with a 53-run lead in first innings. In fact, nine runs were already added to the lead for the loss of just one wicket on Friday night, the second day of the ongoing day-night Test.

Then, India were reduced to 19/6 on Saturday which is their lowest at six wickets down. In that Lord’s Test, India lost their sixth wicket at 28.

The fiasco at Lord’s, which was hosting the second Test of the series, had followed a Test loss at Manchester by 113 runs. The ongoing Test at Adelaide is the first of the series.

In that Lord’s Test, at least one batsman managed to get into double figures with Eknath Solkar managing an unbeaten 17-ball 18, hitting a six and two fours.

In the innings at Adelaide, no Indian batsman could get into double figures with Mayank Agarwal’s nine being the highest.

India’s worst play on Saturday came during a phase of just under six overs between the last ball of the eighth over and the fourth of the 14th over when they lost five wickets for just four runs. They lost four wickets at the team total of 15.

Back at Lord’s, though they lost wickets regularly, the middle-order did not cave in on one single total. They lost multiple wickets only at the end, losing three at 42.

While their innings lasted 21.2 overs at Adelaide, it had lasted just 17 overs in the 1974 Test.

But there are similarities too. Both the carnages were caused by two bowlers.

Right-arm pace bowlers Geoff Arnold and Chris Old picked five and four wickets respectively in the 1974 Test. At the ongoing Adelaide Test, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins took five and four wickets respectively.

Also, in both Tests India did not lose the last wicket as the No. 11 both times was hurt.

In the 1974 Test, leg-spinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar was absent hurt and India could not lose the last wicket. At Adelaide 2020, pace bowler Mohammed Shami got injured after being hit on the hand by a Pat Cummins delivery and had to retire hurt.

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