Australia beat India by 333 runs with 2 days to spare


Pune, India (AP) — Australia won the first test by 333 runs on Saturday with two days to spare in an embarrassing end to India’s 20-match unbeaten streak at home.

Chasing an improbable 441 to win in Pune, India were bowled out in their second innings for only 107 runs shortly after tea on day three as Australia took an unexpected lead in the four-match series.

Steve O’Keefe again took 6-35 and Nathan Lyon claimed 4-53 with all 10 Indian wickets falling to spin. India’s innings lasted 33.5 overs and little more than two hours.

Australia's Steve O'Keefe, left, celebrates taking the wicket of Indian captain Virat Kohli during third day of the first test in Pune, India, Saturday, Feb. 25. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Australia’s Steve O’Keefe, left, celebrates taking the wicket of Indian captain Virat Kohli during third day of the first test in Pune, India, Saturday, Feb. 25. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

O’Keefe took 12-70 in the match, the best figures by an Australian bowler on Indian soil. They were also the second-best figures by a visiting bowler in India, after Ian Botham’s 13-106 at Mumbai in 1980.

India lost their first test at home since 2012. It is also Australia’s first win on Indian soil since 2004.

“Coming to India, we hadn’t won a game here in 4,502 days. So it has been an incredibly long time,” Australian captain Steve Smith said. “Steve O’Keefe was absolutely amazing and well supported by the other bowlers.”

The defeat also ended India’s 19-match unbeaten run in all tests, which went back to 2015.

“We take failures and losses as an opportunity to learn. And the last time we had a performance like this (in Galle in 2015), we had the most outstanding run after that,” Indian captain Virat Kohli said. “We needed this for us to get a reality check and understand what are the things we need to work on, especially at the international level.”

After tea, Australia made short work of the Indian tail. O’Keefe got rid of Cheteshwar Pujara (31), trapping him lbw on the second ball after the break.

Lyon then bowled Ravindra Jadeja (3) and also claimed Jayant Yadav (5) and Ishant Sharma (0).

India had been reduced to 99-6 at tea after Australia opted for spin from both ends after only two overs from Mitchell Starc.

O’Keefe trapped Murali Vijay (2) lbw and Lyon did the same for Lokesh Rahul (10). Both openers used up DRS reviews in what seemed regulation lbw dismissals.

Kohli (13) and Pujara put on 31 runs for the third wicket. But O’Keefe bowled the Indian skipper in the 17th over, as he shouldered arms to a straight delivery that knocked back his off-stump.

Ajinkya Rahane (18) put on 30 runs with Pujara, but the writing was on the wall when he chipped one off O’Keefe straight to Lyon at cover.

The left-arm spinner then dismissed both Ravichandran Ashwin (8) and Wriddhiman Saha (5) lbw, triggering another Indian collapse. In doing so, O’Keefe became the third Australian spinner to claim 10-plus wickets in a test in India.

In the morning session, Smith (109) scored his 18th test hundred as Australia were bowled out for 285 runs in their second innings.

Starting Saturday on 143-4, Smith and Mitchell Marsh (31) took their fifth-wicket partnership to 56 runs.

Marsh was caught behind off Jadeja (3-65) in the 54th over, but that was the only early success for India. Australia then crossed 200 in the 65th over as runs came at a good rate.

Smith reached his hundred off 187 balls. It was his fifth successive century against India in five tests, dating back to the 2014-15 tour.

“I obviously rode my luck throughout the innings, and had a few lives. But you need a bit of luck on a wicket like that,” Smith said.

He also became only the third Australian batsman after Mark Taylor and Damien Martyn to score a second innings’ hundred on Indian soil. He was finally dismissed in the 75th over, as Jadeja trapped him lbw.

Australia looked for quick runs as Starc (30) hit two fours and three sixes in his 31-ball stay, and the overall lead eventually crossed 400.

Ashwin finished with 4-119.

Australia scored 260 in their first innings with India all out for 105 in reply, conceding a 155-run lead.

“The mindset changes drastically when you don’t have a good first-innings performance, especially in India and it was very difficult to come back from that,” Kohli said.

The second test starts in Bangalore on March 4.