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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

After Pune win, Australia skipper Steve Smith’s taunt on Bengaluru Test pitch

The dry, turning pitch laid out for the Pune Test was meant to help India cricket team spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, but Australia cricket team’s Steve O’Keefe crushed the hosts with a 12-wicket haul

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2017 20:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Australian cricket team captain Steve Smith celebrate their victory over India cricket team on Day 3 of the first Test in Pune on Saturday.
Australian cricket team captain Steve Smith celebrate their victory over India cricket team on Day 3 of the first Test in Pune on Saturday.(PTI)

Triumphant after brushing aside India inside three days, Australia skipper Steve Smith took a dig at the turning pitch prepared for the first Test, saying it suited the visitors perfectly. (SCORECARD)

“It was certainly a wicket that would more likely suit the Indian players. I think it evened up the contest a lot more,” Smith said after handing India a 333-run defeat. “We saw the way our spinners bowled on that, they were able to generate some good spin and good natural variation out of the wicket. (HIGHLIGHTS)

“So, it was up to them to prepare a wicket, and they prepared a wicket that actually played into our hands. It would be interesting to see what they come up with in Bangalore,” Smith told the media.


Spinners Steve O’Keefe (12) and Nathan Lyon (5) shared 17 wickets as India lasted a measly 74 overs both innings put together. The hosts were dismissed for 105 in 40.1 overs in the first innings and for 107 in 33.5 overs in the second innings.

Read more | This was our worst batting performance and we need to accept that: Virat Kohli

Making a joke out of curator Pandurag Salgaoncar’s prediction that the ball will “fly” past the batsmen, spinners took 38 of the 40 wickets that fell in the Test.

The pitch wasn’t a minefield, but the prodigious turn it offered seemed to backfire on the hosts’ plans of dishing out surfaces to suit Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.


Statistically, everything was against Australia, be it their infamous streak in this part of the world, their history in India or the whitewash they suffered the last time they toured here in 2013.

However, Smith has ensured the monkey was off the back.

Read more | India vs Australia: Five reasons why Virat Kohli & Co.’s slumped to 333-run loss

“Coming to India, we haven’t won a game here in 4,502 days. So, it has been an incredibly long time,” he said. “I think it was fortunate, Day One, win the toss and post 260 on that wicket was very good. And then our bowlers went to work.

“I thought SOK (Steve O’Keefe) was absolutely amazing to consistently land the ball in good areas and get the natural variation. It was well supported by Nathan Lyon and the two fast bowlers as well.”


Smith notched up his maiden Test ton on Indian soil on Saturday to take the game further away from the hosts. He pumped the air in celebration on reaching the landmark, well aware of the significance of the knock in the context of the game.

Read more | Is Virat Kohli a one-man army for India? Pune defeat hints at that

“I obviously rode my luck throughout the innings, had a few lives. But you need a bit of luck on a wicket like that, and I was pleased with myself to score a second innings hundred in India,” Smith, who was dropped four times and had a leg-before decision turned down, added.

He, however, seemed to acknowledge the threat Virat Kohli’s men possessed and sounded cautious on being asked how he expected the rest of the series to pan out. “It’s going to be a tough road, we know India are going to come back incredibly hard. They’re an amazing team, particularly in their own backyard. They’re going to come back hard. And we’ve got to be ready for it.”

First Published: Feb 25, 2017 20:39 IST

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