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India's worst Test defeats under Virat Kohli

February 26, 2020 09:40 IST
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When India lost the Wellington Test by 10 wickets, was it the worst defeat for Virat Kohli's team?
Rajneesh Gupta has the answers.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli leads his team off the Basin Reserve in Wellington after losing the first Test against New Zealand, February 24, 2020. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

India suffered a humiliating 10 wicket defeat against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.

More than the margin, it's the manner in which India lost the Test without putting up a fight that has irked the cricket fans.

After being put in to bat on a typically green Kiwi track, India crumbled to 165 all out in the first innings with no one reaching 50.

In reply, New Zealand batted India out of the match by posting 348.

Kane Williamson (89) and Ross Taylor (44) ensured the hosts would get a lead and Colin de Grandhomme (43) and tailenders Kyle Jamieson (44) and Trent Boult (38) then took that lead to 183.

The final three Kiwi wickets added 132 runs and this changed the complexion of the match completely.

This has been India's biggest problem in overseas conditions. The bowlers have not been able to find a way to wipe off the other team's tail.

In the second innings, India were in a decent position at 148/4, then lost their last 6 wickets for 47 runs to lose the game in just over three days.

It was the team's first Test defeat since losing to Australia at Perth in 2018, also their first loss in the ICC World Test Championship.

No one can argue about the kind of success India have enjoyed under Virat Kohli in Tests.

The team has swept everyone at home and has been formidable away from the subcontinent.

However, there have been occasions when the Indian team just failed to compete and gifted away the victory to the opposition on a platter.

A look at such past instances under Captain Kohli.


v Sri Lanka, Galle 2015

IMAGE: Sri Lanka's Tharindu Kaushal, second left, celebrates with his teammates Lahiru Thirimanne, centre, Dinesh Chandimal, second right, and Captain Angelo Mathews, right, after taking Virat Kohli's wicket. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

The first Test of the series and at lunch on the third day Sri Lanka were still behind India's first innings total with 5 second innings wicket remaining.

Ravichandran Ashwin was seemingly unplayable and it looked certain that the match would be over on the third day itself.

Dinesh Chandimal's daredevil batting thereafter left the Indians stunned.

Buoyed by the fact that he had nothing to lose, Chandimal cut loose.

155 runs came in 28 overs between lunch and tea, of which 88 came off Chandimal's bat.

There were a few close calls which the Indians thought should have gone their way, but almost all the Indians looked rattled with Chandimal's unorthodox batting.

He was not done yet. After tea another 104 runs were added to the total in 24.2 overs.

None of the Indian bowlers could dismiss Chandimal who remained unbeaten with a career best 162 off just 169 balls with 19 fours and four sixes.

So, from a certain defeat Sri Lanka had something to bowl to.

India were chasing 176. They started the chase with the knowledge that only once had they lost chasing a sub-200 total, anywhere and only once had Sri Lanka defended a sub-200 total in their history, anywhere.

But they were up against Rangana Herath, a master with the ball particularly in Test matches at Galle.

The hosts were also buoyed by the fact that no side had ever chased down a target of 100 in the fourth innings at Galle.

This also played on the minds of the Indians and they became over-cautious landing themselves in a hole.

With the ball spinning square and four fielders around the bat, the Indian batsmen did not know what to do.

Herath, taking full advantage of the Indian batsmen's defensive mindset, led Sri Lanka to an unexpected win soon after lunch on day four.

August 12-15, 2015

Sri Lanka 183 (AD Mathews 64, LD Chandimal 59; R Ashwin 6/46) and 367 (LD Chandimal 162*; R Ashwin 4/114, A Mishra 3/61).

India 375 (S Dhawan 134, V Kohli 103, WP Saha 60; PHT Kaushal 5/134, N Pradeep 3/98) and 112 (HMRKB Herath 7/48, PHT Kaushal 3/47).

Sri Lanka won by 63 runs.

What happened next: Kohli's team won the next two Tests to take the series 2-1.


v Australia, Pune 2017

IMAGE: Steve O'Keefe, centre, celebrates after taking Kohli's wicket. Photograph: BCCI

Going in to this Test, Virat Kohli had an impeccable record as captain at home -- 11 wins and no losses out of the 13 in which he had led India in.

The Aussies, however, had other plans and gave India a thrashing in a Test that lasted just over eight sessions.

The Indians were undone by the left-arm spin of Steve O'Keefe, playing only his fifth Test, so much so that even Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were left clueless.

It was surprising the way Indian batsmen tackled the spin.

They were circumspect and unsure all the time.

Kohli's dismissal in the second innings, not offering a stroke to a delivery that held its line to rattle the stumps, exemplified the mindset of the Indian batsmen to counter spin.

O'Keefe together with Nathan Lyon sent the Indian batsmen into a tizzy in both innings, for totals just over 100.

The Indian innings lasted only 75 overs -- both innings combined! O'Keefe ended with 12 wickets in the match -- six wickets in each innings.

Neither before this Test nor after this did he take more than three wickets in an innings.

The Australian batsmen, on the other hand, fought on a pitch they were not familiar with.

In the first innings, Matt Renshaw batted with grit for three hours scoring 68.

Later in the innings Mitchell Starc scored a quickfire 61 to take Australia to a respectable total.

Steve Smith played a captain's knock in the second innings scoring a brilliant 109 (higher than India's either innings).

Thanks to his innings and useful contributions from the lower order, Australia put enough runs on the board.

India fell 333 runs short in the end.

Sunil Gavaskar termed the defeat as one of India's worst-ever defeats.

February 23-25, 2017

Australia 260 (MT Renshaw 68, MA Starc 61; UT Yadav 4-32, R Ashwin 3/63,) and 285 (SPD Smith 109; R Ashwin 4/119, RA Jadeja 3/65).

India 105 (KL Rahul 64; SNJ O'Keefe 6/35) and 107 (CA Pujara 31; SNJ O'Keefe 6/35, NM Lyon 4/53)

Australia won by 333 runs.

What happened next: India won two of the next three Tests to win the series 2-1.


v England, Lord's 2018

IMAGE: The English players celebrate. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The first Test at the Edgbaston had seen a fierce battle and the hosts were lucky to win by 31 runs.

Much was, therefore, expected of the Indian team in the second Test at Lord's.

However, almost nothing went right for India in this Test -- from the team selection to their batting and bowling.

The first day of the Test was rained off and under overcast conditions, Virat Kohli lost the crucial toss.

Worse, he had chosen a wrist-spinner (Kuldeep Yadav) over a pacer (Umesh Yadav) -- a decision India were left to rue with later.

India were dismissed for 107 after being inserted in the first innings in conditions made for swing bowling, before England batted in the best weather of the match.

After the competitiveness of Edgbaston this was a let-down for India, with their batsmen unable to resist England's bowlers.

The Indian pacers too had England struggling at 89/4, but England ended day three with 357/6, thanks to Jonny Bairstow's 93 and Chris Woakes's career best 120*.

India's decision to go with two spinners -- Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep -- came back to haunt them as both failed to make any impact on the England batsmen.

Bairstow and Woakes put on 189 runs for the 6th wicket and by the time India separated them England were over 200 runs in the lead.

On the fourth day England declared their innings at 396/7, extending the lead to 287 runs.

There was no respite from the four-pronged England seam attack.

Jimmy Anderson handed Murali Vijay his second duck of the Test and had the other opener K L Rahul as well.

Stuart Broad then joined the party, with one hell of a spell that read 7-4-7-4.

His wickets included Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli and Dinesh Karthik.

After tea, Hardik Pandya and Ashwin took India past 100 before Woakes returned to get rid of Pandya.

Anderson went through Kuldeep and Mohammed Shami before Woakes made sure India didn't go past his individual score of 137.

England thus completed their total and utter domination of India in the Lord's Test with a win in just 170.3 overs making it the third-shortest Test in the country over the last 100 years.

These were tough batting conditions, but England had a better bowling attack for the conditions, they selected a better XI and they won the crucial toss.

August 9-12, 2018

India 107 (R Ashwin 29; JM Anderson 5/20) and 130 (R Ashwin 33*; JM Anderson 4/23, SCJ Broad 4/44).

England 396/7d (JM Bairstow 93, CR Woakes 137*;HH Pandya 3/66,Mohammed Shami 3/96).

England won by an innings and 159 runs.

What happened next: India won the third Test at Trent Bridge, but lost the fourth and fifth Tests to lose the series 1-4.

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