'Collapsed completely': Kohli confident stunned India will rebound
India captain Virat Kohli said his team was in a world of "hurt" after a stunning series-opening loss to Australia but is adamant his side will rebound come the Boxing Day Test.
The tourists are still coming to terms with an eight-wicket defeat inside three days at the Adelaide Oval, where they were torpedoed for 36 in 21.2 overs in their second innings. This was their lowest ever Test score, six runs shy of the 42 they made against England at Lord's in 1974, while it was also the lowest score on Australian soil, joining South Africa of 1932.
Josh Hazlewood (5-8 off 5 overs) and Pat Cummins (4-21 off 10.2) tortured the tourists, who resumed on 1-9 with an overall lead of 62, while a Cummins thunderbolt forced tailender Mohammad Shami to retire with a injured wrist. Shami, a key quick, was sent for scans and did not bowl in Australia's second innings. He is in doubt for the Melbourne Test, beginning next Saturday.
In reply, the home side cruised to victory for the loss of only two wickets, the chase giving embattled opener Joe Burns (51 not out) the chance to regain his groove.
When you work hard for two days and play some good cricket to get yourself in a good position and then literally in an hour you put yourself in a position where it is impossible to win, it really hurts.Virat Kohli
Kohli, who lost his one-on-one battle with Cummins when caught by Cameron Green for four, can only watch the remaining three Tests for he will now return home for the birth of his first child, leaving vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane to try and rebuild a side that will also consider other top-order changes.
"It's very hard to put those feelings into words. We had a lead of 60 when we arrived, just collapsed completely. As I said, it's very hard to find words to express how everyone is feeling in the changeroom," Kohli said.
"When you work hard for two days and play some good cricket to get yourself in a good position and then literally in an hour you put yourself in a position where it is impossible to win, it really hurts."
While the master batsman won't be around to lead what India hopes will be quick rebound, Kohli is confident his team can still retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"Obviously, you want to be committed to the team's cause and want the team to perform really well," he said.
"A [winning] result in this game would have been really nice, we really worked hard towards it in the first few days, but, I am pretty confident the boys going forward will reflect on this and they will come out with a stronger performance on Boxing Day and try to get a result our way, so the series gets more interesting. I have no doubt the boys will reflect and come out stronger in Melbourne."
A heavyweight battle that promised so much is in danger of a letdown after Australia's plans to pitch a fuller length wreaked havoc. Hazlewood became the 18th Australian to celebrate 200 Test wickets while Cummins acknowledged his 150th.
"It just felt like if we kept bowling in those areas, the nicks were going to keep coming," Hazlewood said. "We just didn't let up really. It was just one of those days that went to plan."
Skipper Tim Paine, after his fighting half-century in Australia's first innings, and seven overall catches, was named man of the match.
Australia's makeshift opening combination of Matthew Wade (33), unluckily stumped, and Burns (51 not out) almost got their side home with a stand of 70 and have done enough to retain their roles at the MCG, although that could depend on the fitness of David Warner (groin) and Will Pucovski (concussion).
Burns was hit flush on the left forearm by a short ball from Jasprit Bumrah before the tea break and returned with an armguard as he finally found his groove in what has been a tough start to the summer.
Hazlewood, having enjoyed his eighth career five-wicket haul, was asked if he had ever had a more perfect day of bowling.
"I don't think so, no. Everything went to plan. I think what Patty [Cummins] has done was unbelievable. To knock over two big wickets [Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara] set the tone and I just followed suit," Hazlewood said on Fox Cricket.
Few would have predicted what was to come as the tourists at one point lost 5-4 off 36 balls, those runs coming from a Kohli edge.
Pujara became the new wall Australia could not climb two years ago and he again batted for time in a first-innings 43. But there was no stopping the Cummins train, this time the man considered the world's best fast bowler by Shane Warne delivering a "peach" of a delivery that angled in slightly to Pujara and just left him, catching a nick before the batsman had scored.
Hazlewood, having replaced Mitchell Starc, then joined the party, his first delivery forcing opener Mayank Agarwal to play and nick off to Paine. Rahane was the next to fall, pushing outside off stump four deliveries later and was caught behind.
The prized wicket of Kohli was still to be had, and Cummins continued his strong record against the Indian dasher. The Australians like to attack Kohli just outside off stump, sensing the strokemaker cannot resist driving, and that's what he did when he pushed on the front foot, only to be caught at gully by debutant Green.
"He is now my favourite, love him," Cummins said of his new teammate.
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar said there had been "very little that the Indians have done wrong".
It was then over to Hazlewood for more torture, who found himself on a hat-trick when he had Wriddhiman Saha and Ravi Ashwin caught. Umesh Yadav survived the milestone ball but Hazlewood, now with his 200th wicket, was given a standing ovation.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.