Aussie left-arm spinner O’Keefe wreaks havoc to bowl out Indians for 105 on Day Two for massive 298-run lead in first Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Australian players celebrate the fall of an Indian wicket on Day 2 of the first Test at Maharashtra Crikcet Association Stadium at Pune yesterday
"Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties" is one of the favourite phrases of television commentators. There was a lot of uncertainty with which India batted and then later fielded on the second day of the first Tests against Australia at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here, but there was nothing glorious about it, at least for the hosts.
To cut a long story short, India were bowled out for a paltry 105 in 40.1 overs, conceding a 155-run first innings lead. And by the end of Day Two, Australians had stretched that lead to 298, with six wickets -- skipper Steven Smith included -- still in hand. As the head coach Anil Kumble later said, India were bound to have a bad day, having played top class cricket throughout the home season. The only problem was that their bad day was a really bad one. "It all happened a bit too quickly for us," Kumble
On a dry turning track, the visitors showed adaptability to bat for 94.5 overs in the first innings, and another 46 so far in the second. Surprisingly for the Indians, barring KL Rahul, nobody else showed the resilience to bat on this dry turner.
India went from 94 for three to 105 all out in the space of 47 balls; Steve O'Keefe being the wrecker-in-chief with a six-wicket haul. O'Keefe's second spell read 4.1-1-5-6, not something one would expect from an Indian batting unit on a turning track against a spinner playing only his fourth Test.
KL Rahul's poor shot selection -- trying to hit O'Keefe over long off despite a fielder being placed there -- started the dramatic turnaround for the hosts. What made the shot look even worse was Rahul had played a similar shot successfully earlier, but had hurt his shoulder badly in the process, needing immediate treatment.
"I don't think the shot (resulting into Rahul's dismissal) came due to injury; in fact the shot created the injury. Not just to the player, but for the team as well," Kumble said.
India lost four wickets in seven balls, including that of Rahul, and never recovered from there on. That Australians have lost just four wickets in the second innings suggests the pitch is not that unplayable even now.
But with a target of 375-400 in front of them, something that looks very likely, a pitch can suddenly start to look a lot more difficult for any team.