Pune: No one saw this coming. Merely till a few weeks ago, the Indian cricket fans were on an unprecedented high. They were winning, winning and winning. It was like Donald Trump’s oft repeated slogan that Indian cricket team had been following for the last several months.
Many people had forgotten as to when Indian lost a test match. England was thrashed badly by a nonchalant Indian side that didn’t face an iota of difficulty in overcoming every challenge that the England cricket team posed.
Then came Bangladesh cricket team and it was beaten black and blue in the lone test match that the two sides played.
As the team from down under was not performing well for a considerably long time, the critics wrote them off and said they wouldn’t challenge the Indian cricket team playing under Virat Kohli, the overtly aggressive captain.
But the visitors not just tamed the captain, but the entire team. Indian cricket team became a sitting duck for Steve O’Keefe who scalped six wickets in each of the twin innings of the first test match played in Pune.
Australia’s Steve O’Keefe holds the ball after taking 5 wickets in the 2nd innings on the third day of the first cricket Test match between India and Australia at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. AFP PHOTO
It was the performance that no one expected from the visitors. With the win Australia ended India’s 19-match record unbeaten streak after thrashing the hosts by a mammoth 333 runs in the opening cricket Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday. Chasing a mammoth 441, India once again succumbed to the left-arm spin of Steve O’Keefe, who returned with figures of 6/35 in the second innings to bundle out the hosts for a paltry 107. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon also contributed with four wickets.
There is no denying that 32-year-old O’Keefe, whose cricket inning looked all but over, before his exploits in India in the last two days, took six wickets in the first innings, took his overall match haul to 12 wickets.
It is going to give a great boost to the Aussies moral. With the win, the visitors have now taken a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series.Earlier, Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe’s second five wicket haul reduced India to 99/6 in their second innings at tea on the third day of the opening cricket Test against Australia at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium on Saturday. At tea, Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on 31 while wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha (5) was dismissed just before the break. Chasing a massive 441, India’s batting woes continued to haunt them with more than half the side back in the dressing room with just 89 runs on the board.
The captain, who seems to defy the logic and does never disappoint his fans gave in meekly. Openers KL Rahul and Murli Vijay lost their wickets early as India score 16-2 in their second innings chasing a target of 440. Steven Smith led from the front with a century as Australia posted 285 in their second innings at lunch to move to a commanding position on the third day of the first Test against India on Saturday. Dropped by Ajinkya Rahane off Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling, the Australian skipper went on to make the most of the reprieve to post 109, his first century in India. He hit 11 boundaries during his 202-ball stay in the middle before being trapped leg before by Ravindra Jadeja. The match ended two days in advance to give Aussies some time to pursue some hobbies before beginning to prepare for their next test match.