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India vs Australia: A look at the positives for Steve Smith’s team

Steve Smith’s Australian cricket team put up a serious challenge against an in-form Indian team in the four-Test series. Here are some of the good moments for Australia in this series

cricket Updated: Mar 28, 2017 22:35 IST
Australian skipper Steve Smith with his teammates before the awards presentation ceremony after the end of 4th and final test match of the India-Australia series at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Tuesday.
Australian skipper Steve Smith with his teammates before the awards presentation ceremony after the end of 4th and final test match of the India-Australia series at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Tuesday.(PTI)

Steve Smith’s Australian cricket team presented the Indian team with a massive challenge. Having broken their losing streak in Asia by winning the first Test in Pune, they lost in Bangalore but held out for a gritty draw in Ranchi. (DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS)

Despite losing the game in Dharamsala and the series, Australia put up a great show after their poor performance in the 2013 series in which they were whitewashed 4-0. Here are some of the memorable moments for Australia in this series. (DAY 4 SCORECARD)

Steve O’Keefe blows India away in Pune

Steve O’Keefe was in the crossroads of his career. He had made a poor debut against Pakistan and in the series against Sri Lanka, his Test career seemed to be over after he flew back home with an injury.

However, the 32-year-old turned the tables spectacularly. In the first Test in Pune, O’Keefe had combined figures of 28.1-6-70-12 from the two innings, which were the best by a visiting left-arm spinner in Tests in India. His haul helped Australia register a win in India after 13 years.

Matt Renshaw’s grit good signs for the future

Australia’s openers have generally had an attacking mindset when it comes to Tests. The likes of David Warner, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer have always attacked.

However, in this series, Matt Renshaw brought another dimension into Australian opening, which was grit. Overall, he faced 606 balls in the series, the most by any Australian in the series. He saw out the new ball and had a solid technique against the spinners.

Although he averaged just 29 in the series, his solidity at the top was crucial in Australia putting up a fight.

Nathan Lyon: Australia’s greatest off-spinner

Nathan Lyon had struggled for penetration heading into the India series. After struggling in the first innings in Pune, he picked up four wickets in the second but he came into his own in Bangalore where he picked up 8/50, the best bowling performance by any overseas bowler in India.

He also became the most successful bowler against India in Tests and he ending with figures of 5/92 in the first innings of the Dharamsala Test.

Steve Smith, India’s tormentor

He smashed 769 runs in the four Tests in the 2014/15 series. One would have thought Steve Smith would endure a slump. However, he continued his magnificent form by smashing 499 runs in this series, becoming the leading run-scorer yet again.

He became the first Australian skipper and second overall to smash three centuries in a series. His batting made the difference as Australia finally put up a fight.

Welcome back Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins was Australia’s most exciting prospect since he picked 6/79 in Johannesburg against South Africa. However, he was ravaged by injuries for six years and finally came back into the Test fold for the Ranchi Test.

On a pitch offering nothing for the bowlers, he bent his back and picked up 4/106, including three batsmen with clever bouncers. His pace and bounce in Dharamsala means that he iss now ready to feature in the Australian Test team on a regular basis.

Getting the better of Virat Kohli

In the 2014/15 series, Virat Kohli had tormented the Australians with 692 runs with four centuries. More was expected from Kohli in this series, but in three Tests, he managed only 46 runs.

It only became worse for him as he missed the Dharamsala Test due to a shoulder injury. Although Australia lost the series, they can claim that they finally got the better of Virat Kohli.