Friday, February 24, 2017

1st Test: Australia lead by 298 after India collapse for 105

Steve OSteve O’Keefe gets congratulated by his team. Pic/ AFP

Steve O’Keefe produced a remarkable spell as India were bowled out for 105 in the first test at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. At stumps on Day 2, Australia finished at 143/4 with skipper Steve Smith unbeaten on 59. The visitors lead by 298 runs with 6 wickets remaining

O’Keefe produced a career-best 6-35 run figures as India lost seven wickets for 35 runs in 15.1 overs in the sensational post-lunch session and were dismissed for 105 runs to hand the visitors a crucial lead of 155 runs. At tea on the second day of the series opener, Australia were 46 for two in their second innings.

After being shot out for a paltry total, India hit back immediately through off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who dismissed openers David Warner and Shaun Marsh in quick time.

Mitchell StarcMitchell Starc. Pic/ AFP

Australia, who made 260 in their first innings, advanced to 46 for 2 in the second to an overall lead of 201 on a venomous pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

Australia skipper Steve Smith was unbeaten on 27 off 48 balls along with Peter Handscomb (8) at the final break of the day.

Ashwin picked up two wickets for 29 in the second innings and Ravindra Jadeja went wicket-less after conceding 16 runs. Ashwin, howeever, was let down by poor catching as Smith was dropped by Vijay at leg slip when on 27.

Earlier, resuming at the lunchtime score of 70 for three, India added 24 runs before things started happening and they lost wickets in a heap, six of them to the 32-year-old Malaysia-born O’Keefe who finished with a career-best figures that included a devastating spell of 5 for 6 in 24 balls.

The Indian innings, that commenced early in the morning following the last wicket dismissal of Australia in just five balls, lasted under three hours, The host lost seven wickets in 65 minutes in the second session.

O’Keefe started the collapse by dismissing well-set K L Rahul (64) in the eighth over post lunch in which he also scalped Ajinkya Rahane (13) and Wridhiman Saha to leave the hosts tottering at 95 for six.

Rahul was caught at long off while going for a extravagant shot while Rahane and Saha fell to catches off sharply turning balls from the left-arm spinner.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon then packed off Ravichandran Ashwin in the third ball of the next over at 95, caught brilliantly by Handscomb at forward short-leg.

O’Keefe then sent home Jayant Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja in successive overs to leave India gasping at 101 for 9 and in danger of being bowled out for their lowest total by Australia at home. But a streaky shot for four by Umesh Yadav helped the home team get past that mark of 104 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium in 2004 when Michael Clarke, in his debut series, picked up 6 for 9.

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