(Photo: Getty Images)
By Harvey Burgess
Australia dominated day 2 of the 1st Test against India in Pune as they bowled the hosts all out for 105, before finishing the day on 143/4.
The visiting side now lead by 298 runs with three days left to play, and India face a serious uphill battle to win the match from this position.
Australia added just four more runs after resuming the day on 256/9 before Mitchell Starc was caught off Ashwin’s bowling. Attention then turned to Starc and the rest of his side’s bowlers as they began to attack the home team.
On an extremely dry pitch that began to crack and provide turn and bounce on day 1, it fell to O’Keefe to take centre stage, as he produced a magnificent spell of 5 wickets in 19 balls after lunch to leave India facing their worst-ever seven-wicket collapse.
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood took the wicket of Murali Vijay early on in India’s innings, but Lokesh Rahul provided some resistance as he hit an impressive 64, more than half of his side’s total.
Starc, after impressing with the bat, performed well with the ball as he took Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket and the key scalp of captain Virat Kohli, who fell for his first duck in 114 innings across all forms of the game.
Then came O’Keefe’s magical spell of a six-for in 25 deliveries, as the pre-match expectations turned completely on their head to leave India as massive underdogs to win the Test.
Shaun Marsh and David Warner opened the batting for Australia’s second innings as Matt Renshaw had spent the day off the field and was not allowed to bat until 2pm. After hitting 2 fours in the first five balls, Warner fell to the last delivery of the first over, bowled lbw by Ashwin.
Marsh was then out in exactly the same manner for a 21-ball duck before captain Steve Smith began to steady the ship. Ashwin took his third wicket of the innings as Peter Handscomb was caught at leg gully for 19.
Renshaw came in at number 5 and performed admirably given his predicament – he has an upset stomach – and played some lovely strokes in an innings of 31 before being caught at long-off. He had visibly struggled throughout the day with his illness and so credit must be given to him for his battling performance.
Mitchell Marsh joined Smith at the crease and soon afterwards the captain brought up his half-century with a four at deep square leg. Smith finished the day on 59 and now has over 1000 runs against India in just seven Tests.
With a lead of and 6 wickets in hand, Australia are now firm favourites to record their first Test victory in India since October 2004.