Australia surprised all the odds as they comprehensively beat India by 333 runs in the first test match of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2017 played at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune.Steve O’Keefe turned out to be the unlikely hero of the game for Australia as left arm orthodox spinner bagged 12 wickets to seal a historic win for his side. Australia ended their rut in the subcontinent as the side had lost all their last nine test matches before coming into this series.
Australia notched up their first win after 14 years since their last triumph at Nagpur in 2004.The pitch was helpful to spinners and fast bowlers. With searing heat dropping down the turf was increasingly becoming difficult to play on as the game progressed as days went on in the game. O’Keefe was awarded man of the match as the spinner took 12 wickets in the match.
India produced an insipid display with the bat in both the innings after Steve Smith won an all-important toss and decided to bat first.Matt Renshaw produced a gutsy 68 runs on a surface causing all sorts of trouble to the batsmen.The left-handed batsman was also suffering from abdominal pain and had to leave the field in the first session.The middle order got rolled over with no damage done as visitors were helped the by late order cameo produced by Mitchell Starc who played splendidly well for his 61 runs. He struck six fours and three sixes in his innings.Australia were bundled out for 260 runs in their first innings.
In reply, Australia had India in all sorts of trouble as Mitchell Starc produced an inspirational performance with the ball to take out Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in his spell. O’Keefe came at the time when Lokesh Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane looked set at the crease. Rahul played a loose shot against left arm spinner which triggered a huge collapse as India got dismissed for 105 runs with O’Keefe taking six wickets. The hosts lost their last seven wickets for a mere 11 runs to see Australia gain ascendancy in the match and take 155 runs lead into their second innings.
Steve Smith led the way with the bat as he scored a magical ton for his side while Renshaw and Marsh chipped in with crucial runs to see the side register 285 runs from 87 overs to set India a target of 441 runs to win the game. India looked in deep trouble on a pitch turning square as the home side capitulated under some good bowling and pressure created by Australia to be dismissed for 107 runs off 33.5 overs.
Australia will confident of getting better as the next game will be played at Bengaluru that will start from 4th March on Saturday.