Never thought I would see another day like that: GRV

Never thought I would see another day like that: Gundappa Viswanath

A nightmare at Lord’s that will never be forgotten

'We had that sinking feeling as a team. I can relate to how they would be feeling now,' says Viswanath. Credit: Adrian Murrell/Allsport/Getty Images

The eerie similarities were inescapable when the Indian innings ended at 36/9 (considered all out) when No. 11 batsman Mohammad Shami retired out after copping a Pat Cummins short ball on his bowling forearm. And with that, India had registered their lowest Test total ever.

For those who can rewind their memories, an equally ignominious series of events had led to India registering their then lowest total - 42 all out against England - over 46 years ago at Lord’s. Then also, the Indian innings had concluded at 42/9 with last man B S Chandrasekhar remaining 'absent hurt'.

If English pacemen Chris Old and Geoff Arnold claimed five and four in an inspired spell of swing bowling on a green top at Lord’s in 1974, on Saturday it was Josh Hazlewood (five) and Pat Cummins (four) who displayed a fine exhibition of seam bowling on a bouncy Adelaide Oval track.

"I never thought I will ever see another day like that," lamented Gundappa R Viswanath, who was one Arnold’s victims that day. “But sadly, I had to after 46 years. I still remember the day when we got all out for 42, it was a horrible feeling. The whole team was crestfallen. We had that sinking feeling as a team. I can relate to how they (the current players) would be feeling now,” Viswanath told DH.

The former India captain, however, gave credit to the Australian bowlers. “It’s one of those days, you see, when everything you play at takes the edge. Of course they bowled well (Arnold and Old), it was great swing bowling on a green wicket. And when I saw Hazlewood and Cummins pick wickets, it was a similar thing. They did bowl excellent lines and lengths throughout, but on another day, you would have missed those balls.”

Sunil Gavaskar, in his autobiographical work Sunny Days, recalls how India were humiliated, especially late skipper Ajit Wadekar, at the Indian High Commissioner’s residence.

"...Our coach got delayed in traffic and we reached the entrance of the Kensington Gardens around 7 pm. The entrance was too narrow for the big coach to go in and all of us had to get off and rush past a few houses until we came to the High Commissioner’s residence...

"...When Ajit had gone in, we were still in the driveway of the house. By the time we reached the porch, Ajit was returning looking crestfallen and grim. When we asked what the matter was, Ajit replied: "He (High Commissioner) has asked us to get out."

The manager Lt. Col Hemu Adhikari was literally in tears as he "ordered the boys" to get back as everyone felt insulted and didn’t want to go back. After some persuasion, they did relent.

"The High Commissioner embraced Ajit and apologised for losing his temper...," recalled the maestro.

The innings of 42 all out was in the second Test and India lost the next in Birmingham to lose the series 0-3.

Wadekar was sacked as captain and dropped from not only the national team but also the West Zone side.

Unable to take this humiliation, Wadekar announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

Kohli, however, is in a different position and can rest assured that he will not face even half the consquences or hardships faced by Wadekar.

(With inputs from PTI)

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