The Indian team was in a state of shock “for days” after they were dismissed for 36 runs in the second innings of the first Test of their tour of 2020/21 tour of Australia, former head coach Ravi Shastri has revealed. Shastri said that the third day of the match, in which India were dismissed for the record low score and went on to lose by eight wickets, was the lowest point of his tenure as head coach of the team.
“See, the coach is in the firing line; there is no choice. That is the quirk of the job. You have to be ready from day one. I knew there would be no escape routes. The 36 all out was the lowest point,” Shastri, whose tenure as head coach came to an end after the 2021 T20 World Cup in November this year, told The Week.
“We had nine wickets in hand (overnight) and then we were bundled out for 36. All that had to be done was score to 80-odd more runs (to be in the game). We were all numb. We were in a state of shock for days. How could that have happened?,” said the 59-year-old former all-rounder.
India had scored 244 in their first innings and then dismissed Australia for 194. The visitors ended the second day with the score nine runs for one wicket in their second innings but it all unraveled for them in the first session of Day 3. Fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ran through the Indian batting order in just over 15 overs in the session. Hazlewood ended the innings with figures of 5/8 while Cummins returned with 4/21.
India lost fast bowler Mohammed Shami to an injury in that match while Kohli went back to India to be present for the birth of his child. However, India under Ajinkya Rahane then went on to win the second Test in Melbourne, draw the third in Sydney and finally became the first team in over three decades to win a Test at the Gabba in Brisbane to seal the series win. Along the way, they lost senior fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and spin bowling all-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to injuries while senior pacer Ishant Sharma was ruled out before the start of the series.
“It was not just me. I would be the first to put my hand up and say I was the one responsible, take the brickbats; there is no place to hide. I told the boys to focus on what they could do. The boys were unbelievable. One month after that 36 all out, on January 19, we had won the series. I am still thinking, how did that happen? I promise, as long as I live, people will talk about that series win,” said Shastri.