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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

Steve O’Keefe’s deadly spell reminds Darren Lehmann of Mitchell Johnson

Steve O’Keefe was just as devastating as Mitchell Johnson in 2013 Adelaide Ashes Test, feels Australia coach Darren Lehmann who is expecting India to come back hard at them in Bengaluru Test.

cricket Updated: Feb 27, 2017 10:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Steve O'Keefe returned with match figures of 12/70 in the first India vs Australia Test.
Steve O'Keefe returned with match figures of 12/70 in the first India vs Australia Test.(PTI)

Steve O’Keefe and Mitchell Johnson are as different as chalk and cheese but Australia coach Darren Lehmann thought the left-arm spinner was as devastating as the pacer during the 2013 Ashes in Australia.

Johnson had ran through the England batting to take 7/40 in the first innings to hand Australia a decisive lead as well as the match. Lehmann thinks O’Keefe had the same effect on India in Pune.

Read | Steve O’Keefe’s success mantra in Pune Test: Giving up alcohol and Big Bash

“An exceptional spell — I haven’t seen that since Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes with England in Adelaide when he tore them apart,” Lehmann was quoted as saying to “Twelve-for, 6 for 35 in both innings is pretty special. You always hope don’t you, as a player,” he said.

It was Nathan Lyon and not O’Keefe who was touted as the bigger danger but the left-arm spinner came from behind to stun even some former players like Shane Warne. “I actually thought Nathan Lyon bowled just as well, to be perfectly honest. Nathan’s been under pressure from a lot of sources throughout the subcontinent, myself included. I thought he was outstanding in this game,” said Lehmann, before heaping praise on his captain Steve Smith for his match-winning hundred.

Read | Steve O’Keefe’s record 12/70 breaks Australia’s 13-year hoodoo in India

“I haven’t seen him so determined. He’s always determined – he’s captain of our country and plays really well obviously, but he knows conditions on that wicket (were difficult). To make a hundred was very special, so that’d have to be in his top few for sure,” said Lehmann.

Australia may have an early lead in this series but Lehmann is not willing to rest on the Pune laurels and is expecting India to come back hard at them.

“I think the way we played, we deserved to win by that much at the end,” he said. “But they are a quality side for the challenge for our group is to back that performance up in Bangalore. We are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. India are a quality at home, especially at home I think that’s the first Test they’ve lost in 20 matches so they will come back pretty hard.”