Make no mistake about it. The Centurion test was a thumping all right. Sure, India began a fightback in the second innings, but that fightback was asked to do too much. They had done everything that came before at such breakneck pace, that they were being asked to bat more than 2 days to save the game. They had lost wickets quickly and they had conceded too many runs far too fast (4.76 runs an over in a test? Thats 428 runs in a day, folks). The usual consolations are available: India start slowly; they'll fightback; one icicle does not a winter make; and so on. Still, the bare facts are there for all to see.
And when we sift amongst the wreckage, what we find is not pretty: Raina still gives catching practice in the slips; Unadkat looks out of his depth; Harbhajan is back to his usual overseas ineffectivness; and the BCCI cannot be bothered to arrange for warm-up games (sure, a warm-up game might only have helped a bit on the first day, but that little bit is still crucial; there's no point in saying "anyone would have been blown away on that snorter of a track"). The double failure of Laxman did not help either.
Sure, all is not lost, but it is worth remembering that the holy grail of modern Indian cricket, test series wins, away, in South Africa and Australia, remains a distant dream. Getting off to starts like this is not the way to make it happen. And resignation in these matters is infecting the captain as well, which is not a good sign.
Lastly, the fast bowler situation. It almost seems comical now that we started this test with a fast bowling attack that included a virtual unknown. Really, India, really? But then that shouldn't be so surprising. Injuries, strange selections, precipitous loss of form, whatever it is, Team Numero Uno still doesn't have a settled fast bowling attack.
And so here we are, talking about a team that should be kicking off a campaign that could well and truly still wagging tongues about their right to be ranked #1, and it's started with an innings defeat. Second innings fightbacks and 50th test tons won't change that cold fact.
Check back in later. India will have done much better. And then, check back in again, they'll be at the bottom of the hill again. Sisyphus had nothing on this.