INDvAUS, 1st Test, Day 2: Smith, O’Keefe put Australia in complete control

Steven Smith

The second day of the INDvENG, 1st Test match in Pune went as bad as it could for India. By stumps, India were facing the real threat of losing the first home Test to Australia since 2003. It’s been a while since this India side, under the leadership of dynamic Virat Kohli, came out of a day of cricket as battered and bruised as they were today.

At the close of day two, Australia had piled a 298-run lead. The visitors were cruising along at 4-143, with skipper Smith(59) and Mitchell Marsh(21) looking to further stretch this lead and make it impossible for India to make any dramatic comeback into this contest.

The day centered around the performance of Steve O’Keefe, the left arm spin bowler who feared his international career was over after returning from Sri Lanka with a hamstring injury last year, as he bamboozled India to claim the figures of 6-35, his best figures in Test cricket. Within the space of just 24 balls, O’Keefe claimed 6 wickets for just 5 runs to force a horrible, unprecedented collapse in the Indian ranks(7-11), their worst seven-wicket collapse in the history of Test cricket.

Chasing Australia’s first innings total of 260, Vijay and KL Rahul started off promisingly before Hazlewood found the outside edge of Vijay to separate them. It all instigated with the ugly dismissal of KL Rahul, who handed a catch to David Warner while attempting to hit a six with an injured shoulder.

Two balls later, Rihane was squared up and brilliantly held by Peter Handscomb, who was standing at second slip. On last delivery of the over, Saha looked to leave a straight ball, and somehow managed to find an edge which was held smartly by Steven Smith in slips. Within six balls, India had slid to 4-95 and from 1-94.

The pattern continued in the next over when Ravi Ashwin was held courtesy another brilliant diving catch by Handscomb off the bowling of Nathon Lyon. The collapse added the fifth casualty when Jayant Yadav’s backfoot was found on the crease, as Wade whipped the bails off to add another wicket to the tally of O’Keefe.

O’Keefe stormed himself into the history books with the wicket of Jadeja, who skied one to Mitchell Starc, as he became the second fastest man to claim the fastest five-wicket haul(in just 19 deliveries).

India lost their last seven wickets for just 11 runs in 47 balls to give up a deficit of 155 runs in the first innings.


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