India's batsmen are struggling. And it's been that way for months now. The latest collapse at St George's Park was the seventh time they have been bowled out in 16 matches since the tour of West Indies in May. In their last eight matches India have been scuttled on five occasions.
Scratch the surface and you'll unearth more dismal facts. On the tour of South Africa so far, India's tenth wicket has fallen as early as the 30th, 42nd, and 39thover. In the recent tri-series in Malaysia, Australia routed India for 195 after 43.5 overs and West Indies dismissed them for 162 off 39.3 overs . Another debacle was on the cards had rain not intervened after Mitchell Johnson reduced India to 35 for 5 by the eighth over of the first match against Australia in the DLF Cup.
Being dismissed in seven out of 16 ODIs is dire but the remaining matches aren't a pretty picture either. In four out of the other nine matches, India had scores of 245 for 9, 217 for 7, 223 for 9 and 249 for 8 after 50 overs, and in their Champions Trophy match against England, they lost six wickets while chasing a meagre 126.
At the moment India don't have a single batsman in form. They just haven't been spending enough time at the crease and sizable partnerships have been few and far between. Cricinfo analysed the differences between India's golden run during the 2005-06 season and their woeful slump since the tour of West Indies up to the Champions Trophy. Their travails in South Africa are merely an extension of the same. The blame lies largely with the batsmen.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo