India hope Pune rout acts as wake-up call

Tricia Pearson
February 27, 2017

The chief architect of Australia's rampant performance in Pune that led to India's epic collapse in the opening Test of the series, Steve O'Keefe has been issued a challenge to perform the same way on better pitches by none other than one of India's finest spinners, Harbhajan Singh.

If at all the pitch in Pune was doctored, then just by losing the toss, India had done themselves in. Now, they are coaches of the Indian and Australian side.

Left-arm tweaker O'Keefe dismissed top-scorer KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha in the 33rd over before Lyon stepped up to remove counterpart Ashwin.

Whatever they worked on paid immediate dividends in a stunning afternoon of play, which saw O'Keefe rip through India's formidable batting lineup with six wickets in the space of just 24 deliveries.

O'Keefe and Nathan Lyon shared all 10 wickets to fall in India's second innings.

Post lunch, India began their chase of 441 runs in poor fashion with Australia opting for spin from both ends after only two overs from Mitchell Starc.

India's 705-7 at Sydney in January 2004 is the highest innings total in their bilateral series. O'Keefe, though, a totally different bowler was a killer with his accuracy and deliveries which have less spin but created a cobweb of confusion in the minds of the Indian batsmen.

The imperious left-hander was "only" able to add 60 in his next Test against the Proteas, before making up for that with scores of 190, 84, 116 and 205 across the following three matches in a phenomenal sequence of scoring.

India, who polished off the last Australian wicket for the addition of just four runs in the fifth ball of the morning, were put on the ropes by left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc and his pace partner Josh Hazlewood. We got to take it on the chin, accept that they outplayed us. The series is still alive, of course, but India have much to ponder over the next week, ahead of the Bangalore Test.

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Australia who were bowled out for 260 in their first innings were 143/4 at stumps on Day Two, stretching their overall lead to 298 on a rank turner.

"The guys have been excited by the opportunity to come and play here".

Well, Day 3 of the first Test was expected to be the penultimate day of the first Test match between the two sides but credit to the Australian spinners because the match ended after few minutes of the third session of the play.

Renshaw was criticized by former Australia captains Allan Border and Michael Clarke for leaving mid-way through his innings and rushing off the field for a toilet break. You need to have some luck on a wicket like that.

Smith's men, however, thrashed India inside three days to go 1-0 up in the four-match series. He claimed identical figures to his name in the two innings, grabbing 6 for 35.

Australia are completely dominating this Test match. The validity of his point isn't debatable, but India's execution of plans is.

On this wicket, the ball was turning from the first ball.

But Smith and Matthew Wade got together to carry the visitors' second innings past the 200-run mark.

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