Cricket

Australia break India's unbeaten run with Pune thrashing

India's captain Virat Kohli
India's captain Virat Kohli Rupak De Chowdhuri/REUTERS

Australia beat India by 333 runs on Saturday in an victory that ended the hosts' unbeaten streak of 19 Tests in the opening match of the series in Pune.

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Chasing 441, the world's top side crashed to 107 all out early in the final session after left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe's match haul of 12 wickets, handing number-two ranked Australia the upset win inside three days.

O'Keefe's tour de force enabled Australia to win their first Test victory on Indian soil since 2004 as they took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

The visitors last won a Test at Nagpur in October 2004, clinching the four-match series 2-1 under the then captain Ricky Ponting.

Second-ranked Australia also registered their first win in Asia after nine losses including their 3-0 thrashing in Sri Lanka last year.

Australia skipper Steve Smith rated the win as "right up there", saying: "Coming to India, we haven't won a game here 4502 days. I have been told those facts."

"So it's been an incredibly long time...You know it's a great challenge and in this game the boys were up to the challenge," Smith told reporters.

The 32-year-old returned with impressive figures of 6-35 as he got good support from off spinner Nathan Lyon, who bagged six wickets at India's newest Test venue.

Lyon got the final wicket of Jayant Yadav (55) as the second-ranked Australian side got into a celebratory huddle.

O'Keefe made India falter twice on a turning track as another 6-35 in the first innings saw the hosts bundle out for 105.

"O'Keefe was outstanding. We've got some good players (batsmen) of spin and good spinners," said Smith.

A wily O'Keefe got the big wicket of Indian skipper Virat Kohli as he bowled the star batsman for 13, stunning the home crowd into silence.

It was a rare failure for Kohli, who was out for a duck in the first innings, after scoring double hundreds in four successive series since July.

"They exploited it (the pitch) better than us. They put us under pressure throughout and deserved to win this game," said Kohli.

"We've had two really bad sessions and to pull it back against a quality side is very difficult. No excuses."

(With AFP)
 

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