Saturday, February 25, 2017

1st Test: Australia thrash India by 333 runs to end record winning streak

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

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.

The 32-year-old O’Keefe, who took six wickets in the first innings, took his overall match haul to 12 wickets.

Steve O
Australia’s Steve O’Keefe celebrates after the dismissal of India’s captain Virat Kohli on the third day of the first cricket Test match between India and Australia at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. AFP PHOTO

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.

Australia’s captain Steve Smith celebrates his century. Pic/ PTI

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.

Ashwin dismissed Steve O’Keefe to put an end to Australia’s second innings at the stroke of lunch. The visitors now have a lead of 440 runs.

Ashwin was the most successful among the Indian bowlers with figures of 4/119. Jadeja and fast bowler Umesh Yadav clinched three and two wickets respectively, while rookie off-spinner Jayant Yadav had one scalp to his name

India started the day on a positive note with overnight batsman Mitchell Marsh offering a thick outside edge to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha off Jadeja’s bowling.

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

Umesh Yadav, who was impressive throughout the morning session, got his reward when Mattthew Wade offered a thick edge to Saha.

The left-hander had got a reprieve earlier in the over when the ball took a slight touch of the toe end of the bat on its way into Saha’s gloves.

Wade’s departure saw Mitchell Starc join his captain in the middle and the two proceeded to put pressure on the hosts by scoring at a brisk rate.

The Indians, however, hit back by removing Smith, Starc, Nathan Lyon and O-Keefe in quick succession just ahead of the lunch break.

Brief Scores: Australia 260, 285 vs India 1st innings 105; 99/6 (Cheteshwar Pujara 31 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 18, Steve O’Keefe 5/31)

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