New Delhi: India has lost the second Test to England at Trent Bridge on Monday by 319 runs. And with the defeat comes back the nightmare of other mammoth defeats that the team has suffered in the past.
India's biggest margin of defeat in Tests, playing in the fourth innings, was 342 runs against Australia at Nagpur in 2004. An in-form Jason Gillespie ran through the Indian batting line-up in the first innings to claim five wickets. This after Damien Martyn had already silenced the crowd with his 114. Both Martin and Gillespie returned to torment the hosts with the bat and the ball with 97 runs and 4 wickets in the second innings respectively. Martyn was declared man-of the-match but it was more of a collective assault on India's home frontier.
India's second biggest defeat came against arch-rivals Pakistan in Karachi, two years later. After two drawn Tests, India surrendered by 341 runs in the final match despite restricting the opposition to a relatively low score of 245 runs in the first innings. The seven-run lead was converted by Faisal Iqbal (139), Mohammad Yousuf (97) and Abdul Razzaq (90) as Pakistan mounted 599 runs coming back. Razzaq, in stark similarity to Stuart Broad in the ongoing series, returned to bleed India with the ball and took 4 wickets to end the match and the series in his team's favour.
Australia invited India to their home in 2007 and inflicted a 337-run embarrasment on the Anil-Kumble-led side.
Matthew Hayden's 124 took the hosts to 343 in the first innings and India could only manage 196 in reply as Stuart Clarke and Brett Lee claimed four sclaps each. A plus-300 score again in the second innings by Ricky Ponting and his men had an even more ordinary reply from the Indian batsmen. VVS Laxman managed the highest score in the second innings, that of 40 while Sourav Ganguly scored to less as the visitors collapsed to 161.
That the above defeats have all come in the new millennium and that in each of these matches, India has bowled first may just be a co-incidence. That the defeats, however, have come both in and outside the sub-continent shows that venue and conditions have not really been too big a factor when form has decided to give this potentially explosive team, a miss.