MANCHESTER (AFP) - India's cricketers collapsed spectacularly, losing four wickets with just eight runs on the board in six overs, at the start of the fourth Test against England at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, won the toss and elected to bat despite the overcast conditions, but the No. 6 batsman soon found himself in the middle after the top order failed to deal with the swing and bounce of England new-ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
All of India's first four wickets fell with their score on eight, the tourists losing four wickets for no runs in 13 balls, with three of the dismissed batsmen out for nought.
Gautam Gambhir, recalled in place of the dropped Shikhar Dhawan in one of three changes to the India side that lost the third Test in Southampton by 266 runs, was first to go.
The left-handed opener had made four when he was undone by a rising Broad delivery in the fourth over that he could only edge straight to Joe Root in the gully.
Anderson, on his Lancashire home ground, then took two wickets for no runs in three balls as both opener Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli fell for ducks after edging to England captain Alastair Cook at first slip.
Cheteshwar Pujara also exited for nought when, in the sixth over, he got an outside edge off Broad and Chris Jordan, diving to his right, held a fine catch at third slip.
India's lowest Test innings total is the 42 they made against England at Lord's in 1974, with the all-time lowest New Zealand's 26 all out, also against England, at Auckland in 1954-55.
Although Thursday's collapse was severe in the extreme, it did not represent India's worst start to a Test innings with the bat.
That came in the second innings against England at Headingley back in 1952 when India were reduced to no runs for four wickets with legendary fast bowler Fred Trueman, making his Test debut on his Yorkshire home ground, taking three of those wickets.
The five-match series is tied 1-1.