MS Dhoni leaves the field during the Perth Test. (Getty Images)
India's tour of Australia stands at 0-3 with one Test to go. We recap the sorry moments that led to this predicament.
Dhoni goes onto the defensive
In Australia's first innings in Melbourne, MS Dhoni welcomed Brad Haddin, at 214 for 6, with a long-on, deep midwicket and fine leg in place. It was baffling, and clearly not the thinking of a champion side. Haddin and Peter Siddle added 72 to Australia's total, picking easy singles and doubles.
Siddle bowls Tendulkar
It didn't seem massive at the time – yes, it did deprive him of his 100th hundred – but Siddle's bowling Sachin Tendulkar for 73 in the final over of the second day at the MCG was a turning point. Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid had put on 117 to carry India to 214 for 2 before Tendulkar played an indecisive push to an in-cutter from Siddle that crashed into the stumps. At 213 for 3 in reply to Australia's 233 India appeared well placed, but little did they know how much that wicket would effect them on the third morning.
India lose 8 for 68
Tendulkar's dismissal included, India lost 8 for 68 to end up 51 runs short of Australia's 233. From 214 for 2 on the second evening they slumped to 282 all out. It was a damning collapse, and one that became all too common in the next two Tests.
Dravid was bowled second ball of the morning by Ben Hilfenhaus, who followed up with the wickets of Virat Kohli, Dhoni and the dogged nightwatchman Ishant Sharma, while Siddle took out VVS Laxman and R Ashwin. Therein lay a major factor in India's defeat.
Dravid drops Hussey
As Michael Hussey – under enormous pressure for runs coming into the series – waged a battling rearguard with the lower order, Dravid dropped a straightforward catch on the third evening in Melbourne. Hussey was on 69 at the time, with Australia six down for 163, and though he only added 20 to his total to be dismissed on the fourth morning, Dravid's gaffe had allowed him to inject a crucial sense of belief into the innings.
Hussey and the tail add crucial runs
On the fourth morning in Melbourne, Dhoni's defensive thinking went a long way towards the final result. In fact, the tone of the day was set in the morning, after Zaheer Khan extracted Hussey for 89 with pretty much the perfect delivery. With Australia nine down, effectively 249 for 9, Dhoni shockingly spread the field and called on the offspin of Ashwin four overs after Zaheer's strike. There was just a short leg and slip in place. One slip. And men patrolling the boundary. Instead of turning continuing with pace from both ends and calling on Ishant, Dhoni turned to spin. The result? A 43-run final-wicket partnership.
India combust in pursuit of 292
To lose eight wickets for 68 runs was ridiculous, but to lose the first six wickets in 26.1 overs bordered on the appalling. Attempting to chase the highest fourth-innings total at the MCG in 58 years was never going to be easy, but India fell prey to their age-old nerves.
The footwork was virtually nonexistent, the choice of shots irrational. Virender Sehwag chased a short and wide ball to gully, Gautam Gambhir yet again nervously poked to slip, Dravid left a huge gap, Laxman clipped to leg, Kohli played over a straight delivery, and Tendulkar could not contain himself. At 81 for 6, the stench of inability was overwhelming.
It was a diabolical capitulation to match the best that Indian cricket teams have put up in the past. A team with the two highest run-scorers in the history of Test cricket, and two other batsmen with over 16,000 runs between themselves, combined to be bowled out for 169.
India bowled out for 191
Having won the toss on a greenish SCG surface, which would require meticulous batting while the pitch was fresh, India could only make 191. A top-order wobble left them at 72 for 4 at lunch, and once Tendulkar and Kohli were separated the wickets again started to fall. Kohli edged Siddle for 23, Tendulkar chased a wide delivery and was bowled by James Pattinson for 41, and India proceeded to lose their last five wickets for 67 runs.
Clarke and Ponting lead stirring recovery
Zaheer's triple-strike had Australia teetering at 37 for 3 at stumps on day one in Sydney, but was followed was the stuff of legends. Michael Clarke and Ponting batted with supreme confidence and application to pull the momentum away from India, who again were let down by Dhoni's captaincy. On the second morning, when the hosts were 99 for 3 - still 92 runs behind India - Dhoni called on Ashwin and stuck in a deep point and deep midwicket. This allowed Clarke and Ponting to pick off easy runs and a match-winning partnership was formed. India managed just one more wicket at the SCG – Ponting’s for 134 – while conceding 622 runs.
India lose 4 for 15
India's only realistic hope of saving the Sydney Test lay in forming massive partnerships. Had Gambhir, Tendulkar and Laxman converted their half-centuries into centuries it would have sent a strong message through the side. Instead, Gambhir fell after adding 15 runs to his overnight score, and then four wickets went down for 15 runs. Tendulkar edged Clarke to slip for 80, Laxman got a terrific delivery on 66, Dhoni tapped a return catch, and Kohli got a shooter. At 286 for 7, the innings was up.
161 all out
India needed their famous batsmen to rise as one in Perth, but what followed was their worst total of the tour. Put in to bat on a lively wicket, but by no means threatening, India lost their first four wickets for 63 runs and, following a 68-run stand between Laxman and Kohli, slumped from 131 for 5 to 161 all out. A collapse of six for 30 in 56 balls was unacceptable.
Warner goes ballistic
In 23 overs of adrenalin-fuelled batting, David Warner ratcheted Australia to 149 for 0 by stumps on the first day at the WACA. Where India's batsmen had struggled to post 161, Warner single-handedly smacked the bowlers all around the ground in a devastating display. Australia's run rate in the final session was 6.77, and India had been deflated.
India go down in a heap
Few expected India to win in Perth, having conceded a 208-run lead to Australia on day two, but the manner in which they folded on the third afternoon was deplorable. From 135 for 4, India lost six wickets for 36 runs. The last four fell in eight deliveries with no addition to the score. The end was swift and merciless on day two, leaving India to smart from a defeat that came in two and a half days.