There are misfires, there are backfires and then there is this performance from Team India. India laid a minefield of a track to dislodge Australia but got burnt to embarrassment in result. Steve O`Keefe, a lesser known spinner to most of the Indians will now be etched in their memory as the greatest nightmare, for ever. O’Keefe achieved in his first match here, what the great Shane Warne could never as he striked one after another to finish up with 12 wickets in the match to skittle India in both Innings to help Australia to a massive 333 run win in the first match of the series.
It was the first international test match at Pune and the pitch was pretty much like what Australia had got in all the matches on their previous India tour that saw them sink 4-0. The ball was turning from the start of the match as Ashwin opened with the new ball with Ishant Sharma. Australia opened with David Warner and Matthew Renshaw who shares not just the first name with the former great Australian opener Matthew Hayden but also the physicality and the batting style. He started confidently and positively reminding many of Hayden`s batting when toured India in the 2001 series. The opening pair started well and gave their team a steady start on a tricky track. After the initial burst of spin, it took a fast bowler to break through as Umesh Yadav called upon late bowled Warner in his first over. Indian bowlers kept getting regular wickets but fighting half centuries from Renshaw and then Mitchell Starc down the order helped Australia to finish at a respectable 260 runs in the first innings.
Keeping the Indian batting performance in mind one would have hoped for the big Indian show but O’Keefe stole the thunder and blew Indian batsmen away like a straw of dry grass with a thunderous spell of 6 wickets. KL Rahul top scored with 64 runs as India collapsed to a paltry 105 runs, giving a decisive 155 run lead to Australia. The last 7 Indian wickets fell for just 11 runs. Inform Indian skipper Virat Kohli had a rare failure as he got out for a duck off the second ball he faced.
It was imperative that India needed to bowl Australia to score similar to theirs but the Australians were in no mood to let this opportunity go by. The form that India has been in this season, one would have expected them to bounce back in these conditions but Australians gave the Indians some batting lessons as they came out positive against the spinners led by their skipper Steve Smith who top scored with a fine century to lead Australia to 285 runs with the help of some useful cameos from almost all Australian batsmen. On a track, where batting was nothing short of an adventure, Australia gave India a target of 440 runs.
India came out to bat again and folded once again. It was an O`Keefe and Lyon show throughout as both the spinners shared all the 10 Indian wickets amongst them with O`Keefe picking up 6 wickets in the innings once again. India managed just 107 runs giving Australia not just a huge but a morale boosting win.
It could be complacency or over confidence of the Indian players or the skills of the Australians that led to this rout but the real matter here is the quality of the pitch that was on offer. Team India when playing under MS Dhoni usually preferred square turners like this against the overseas teams to gain advantage over them. Ashwin and Jadeja made sure almost every time that India came back smiling but this match would have given them a lot to think about. Australian team beat India comprehensively in all the three departments and was the righteous winner of the duel. It is now upto Team India to recollect their thoughts and approach to bounce back as Australia draw the first blood.
O`Keefe was the man of the match.
Ind Vs Aus, 1st Test, Pune
Australia: 260/10 & 285/10
India: 105/10 & 107/10
Australia beat India by 333 runs