India vs Australia 1st Test Day 2: O’Keefe, Smith put Australia in commanding position

O’Keefe finished with figures of 6-35 off 13.1 overs

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

A six-wicket haul by Steve O’Keefe followed up with an unbeaten knock of 59 by captain Steve Smith saw Australia dominate India on the second day in Pune.

O’Keefe claimed his five wickets in the space of 19 balls, which is the joint-second-fewest balls needed to take a five-for against India in Tests.

O’Keefe’s figures of 6-35 are also the third-best by an overseas left-arm spinner in India.

Starting off the day on 256/9, Australia were only able to add four runs to their score being before bowled out when Mitchell Starc was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin for 61 off 63 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes.

Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Ashwin snapped up three, Ravindra Jadeja took two and Jayant Yadav chipped in with one.

Trailing by 260 runs, India got off to a poor start as opener Murali Vijay was caught behind off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for 10 runs.

Not long after, Starc struck twice in the space of three balls as he removed Cheteshwar Pujara for six and captain Virat Kohli for a duck.

Lokesh Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane helped India recover through a 50-run partnership, but their resistance was ended when Rahul fell to O’Keefe for 64 off 97 balls, which included 10 boundaries and a six.

Two balls later, O’Keefe sent Rahane packing for 13 before striking for the third time in the over when he dismissed wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for a duck.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts in the very next over as Ashwin was on his way back to the pavilion for one run thanks to a superb catch from Peter Handscomb at short leg off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

India failed to recover and were ultimately bowled out for 105 as O’keefe took out Jayant Yadav, Jadeja and Umesh Yadav in quick succession.

With India having lost their last seven wickets for just 11 runs, it was their worst seven-wicket collapse in Test history, going past the seven wickets they lost for 18 runs against New Zealand in in Christchurch in 1990.

Furthermore, India’s score of 105 was their fifth-lowest total against Australia in Test cricket.

O’Keefe was easily the most successful bowler with six wickets, while Starc took two and Hazlewood and Lyon claimed one wicket each.

With a 155-run lead in hand, Australia opener David Warner made his intentions clear with two boundaries, but on the sixth ball of the innings, he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Ashwin for 10 runs.

Australia captain Steve Smith and Matthew Renshaw steadied the ship with a 52-run stand, during which Smith surpassed his half-century, before Renshaw was removed by Jayant Yadav for 31.

Smith and Mitchell Marsh kept the runs flowing with an unbeaten 30-run partnership before stumps was called.

Smith finished on 59 off 117 balls, which included seven boundaries, while Marsh remained undefeated on 21 off 48 deliveries, which included two boundaries and a six.

Smith struck seven boundaries during his unbeaten knock of 59

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Ashwin took three wickets, while Jayant Yadav got one.

Australia ended day two on 143/4 and will continue batting on Saturday at 09:30 local time or 04:00 GMT.

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