Aus complete demolition

Cricket First Test : India collapse to 107 all out to slump to one of their worst defeats at home

Aus complete demolition

Steve O’Keefe (12/70) produced the second best figures for a visiting bowler in India while Steve Smith (109, 202b, 11x4) racked up his fifth Test hundred against India in as many matches as Australia ended their 13-year duck in this part of the world.

Set an improbable target of 441 on a pitch where the Indian batsmen resembled a cat on a hot tin roof, Australia registered an emphatic 333-run win after skittling the hosts for another sorry total — 107 all out in 33.5 overs — here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium on Saturday. Australia, overnight 143/4, had ended their second innings at 285 all out in 87 overs following an extended first session. This was Australia’s first win in India since their drubbing of Rahul Dravid and company in Nagpur in 2004.

It was a swift end to a much-anticipated contest as India folded barely 18 minutes into the final session of third day’s play, giving themselves an extra two-day break. The shame wasn’t in losing the Test, which was India’s first in 20 matches since their last defeat against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2015 but the manner in which they caved in.

Just how poor India’s performance in this match was can be judged from some of the numbers that the team would want to forget soon:

They aggregated a mere 212 runs for the match, 48 runs less than Australia’s first innings total of 260. This is also India’s lowest cumulative total in a Test match at home losing all 20 wickets.

Indian batsmen spent 298 minutes with two innings combined, same as that of Australia’s second innings’ duration. On the third day alone, Australia, with six batsmen in hand, batted for 129 minutes as opposed to 125 by India.

The margin of defeat in this Test is their second biggest in terms of number of runs. The biggest was also against Australia (342 runs) in Nagpur.

On the face of it, it may appear a case of the under-rated Australian bowlers outbowling the Indian spinners on a rank turner but the home team’s struggles were all to do with what Virat Kohli termed “the worst batting performance” by the current bunch.

Smart Aus spinners

The rub of the green did go Australia’s way as exemplified by Smith who was let off at least four times during his battling but perhaps his most significant Test innings. Where Indian bowlers beat the bats of Australian batsmen times without number, O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon either hit the pad or stumps or elicited edges putting their close-in fielders in business.

Perhaps the lack of turn, rather than the turn itself, did the Indians in. If someone as good as Kohli leaves the ball alone only to see the top of his off rattled, it shows the amount of doubt that the Aussie bowlers were able sow in the minds of Indian batsmen.

The series against South Africa in 2015 had revealed in ample measure the weakness of the current Indian batsmen against the turning ball. While they had managed to win the series 3-0, their batting against South African spinners wasn’t anything to shout home about. Those failings came to haunt them again as – barring KL Rahul in the first innings – none of their top-order batsmen displayed the character and craft to blunt the Aussie spinners. O’Keefe was the major beneficiary of this uncertainty as he bagged another half a dozen wickets much to the astonishment of a sizable weekend crowd.

His senior spin partner Nathan Lyon (4/53) grabbed the other four wickets to share the spoils between them. Such was the dominance of O’Keefe and Lyon that Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood got just four overs between them while the fifth bowler, pace-bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, went unused in the match.

Australia have landed the first punch and it’s imperative that India regroup soon and get level in Bengaluru (the venue for the second Test) before it’s too late.

score board

AUSTRALIA (I Innings): 260 all out
INDIA (I Innings): 105 all out
AUSTRALIA (II Innings; O/n: 143/4):
Warner lbw Ashwin    10
(4m, 6b 2x4)
S Marsh lbw Ashwin    0
(19m, 21b)
Smith lbw Jadeja    109
(255m, 202b, 11x4)
Handscomb c Vijay b Ashwin    19
(37m, 34b, 3x4)
Renshaw c Ishant b Jayant    31
(57m, 50b, 5x4)
M Marsh c Saha b Jadeja    31
(69m, 76b, 4x4, 1x6)
Wade c Saha b Umesh    20
(43m, 42b, 2x4)
Starc c Rahul b Ashwin    30
(30m, 31b, 2x4, 3x6)
O’Keefe c Saha b Jadeja    6
(37m, 42b, 1x4)
Lyon lbw Umesh    13
(16m, 13b, 1x4, 1x6)
Hazlewood (not out)    2
(10m, 6b)
Extras (B-4, LB-9, NB-1)    14
Total (all out, 87 overs)    285
Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Warner), 2-23 (S Marsh), 3-61 (Handscomb) 4-113 (Renshaw), 5-169 (M Marsh), 6-204 (Wade), 7-246 (Smith), 8-258 (Starc), 9-279 (Lyon).
Bowling: Ashwin 28-3-119-4, Jadeja 33-10-65-3, Umesh 13-1-39-2, Jayant 10-1-43-1 (nb-1), Ishant 3-0-6-0.
INDIA (II Innings):
Vijay lbw O’Keefe    2
(20m, 23b)
Rahul lbw Lyon    10
(26m, 9b, 1x4)
Pujara lbw O’Keefe    31
(85m, 58b, 2x4)
Kohli b O’Keefe    13
(33m, 37b, 1x4)
Rahane c Lyon b O’Keefe    18
(22m, 21b, 3x4)
Ashwin lbw O’Keefe    8
(9m, 11b, 1x4)
Saha lbw O’Keefe    5
(12m, 13b, 1x4)
Jadeja b Lyon    3
(10m, 11b)
Jayant c Wade b Lyon    5
(17m, 17b, 1x4)
Ishant c Warner b Lyon    0
(1m, 2b)
Umesh (not out)    0
(6m, 1b)
Extras (B-8, LB-4)    12
Total (all out, 33.5 overs)    107

Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Vijay), 2-16 (Rahul), 3-47 (Kohli), 4-77 (Rahane), 5-89 (Ashwin), 6-99 (Saha), 7-100 (Pujara), 8-102 (Jadeja), 9-102 (Ishant).
Bowling: Starc 2-2-0-0, Lyon 14.5-2-53-4, O’Keefe 15-4-35-6, Hazlewood 2-0-7-0.
Second Test: March 4-8 (Bengaluru)

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