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India vs West Indies | Kohli & Pujara's Single-digit Scores, India's Achilles Heel?

Virat Kohli was dismissed for 9 off 12 deliveries while Cheteshwar Pujara only managed to score 2 off 4 – in the first innings against the West Indies at North Sound in Antigua on the opening day of the first Test.

Nikhil Narain |August 23, 2019, 4:24 PM IST
India vs West Indies | Kohli & Pujara's Single-digit Scores, India's Achilles Heel?

It has happened twice in India (on both occasions in Western India), thrice in England including twice in London and on one instance each in Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

It connects Mumbai to Auckland to Manchester to London to Pune to Melbourne to Antigua. It has happened thrice in the first innings, twice in the second and third and once in the fourth innings.

Virat Kohli was dismissed for 9 off 12 deliveries while Cheteshwar Pujara only managed to score 2 off 4 – in the first innings against the West Indies at North Sound in Antigua on the opening day of the first Test.

This was only the 8th instance in which both, Kohli and Pujara, were dismissed for single digit scores in the same innings of a Test. The last time this happened was in the third innings in the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the MCG in 2018.

India have lost 6 of the 7 completed Tests in which Kohli and Pujara, both, have been dismissed for single-digit scores in any of the innings.

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Six of these losses have been by huge margins – twice by an innings, once by a margin in excess of 300 runs, two times with margins in excess of 100 runs and once by 10 wickets.

The only aberration was the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in 2018. Pujara and Kohli were dismissed for a duck – still India went on to win the match by 137 runs. Interestingly, it was Pujara and Kohli who top-scored for India in the first innings with 106 and 82 respectively.

India has been dismissed in the 100s in 4 such innings, declared at 106 for 8 at MCG, scored between 200-300 twice (including the current score of 203 for 6 against West Indies at Antigua) and above 300 once in these innings.

What is interesting is that while Pujara and Kohli average just 2.375 and 3.25 in these 8 innings, their performance in the other innings of these Tests has been significantly better.

Excluding the Antigua Test, Pujara averages 51.43 with two hundreds in the other innings while Kohli averages 36.71 with two half-centuries.

Pujara and Kohli have batted together in 106 innings in Test cricket. They have scored 50-plus in the same innings on 12 occasions. India went on to win 10 such Tests. They drew one against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2013. The solitary Test they lost was against Australia in Adelaide in 2014.

This shows the greatness of the two batsmen and the dependency of India on them.

India broke the trend at MCG when it went on to win despite Pujara and Kohli both getting dismissed for a single-digit score in the third innings.

Will Antigua be another exception?

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