Australia failed to register a Test series win on Indian soil during their last visit in the 2016-17 season. But, they did manage to draw first blood in four-match series with a massive victory in Pune where left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe was the wrecker in chief with six scalps in both innings on a typical rank-turner. The veteran spinner has now revealed how he castled the then Indian skipper Virat Kohli who left a straight delivery as the ball went right through and disturbed the latter’s furniture. At the same time, O’Keefe also explained where the Indian spinners had erred tactically and how he had made the most of that surface.
“My most memorable (wicket) was probably Virat Kohli in India. I knocked him over, we were playing on this absolute dust bowl of a wicket, it was spinning and ragging sideways. It was an absolute tip of a wicket, junk. Ravi Shastri described the wicket of having dermatitis, it was that bad, it had holes in it,” said Steve O’Keefe. “To top it off, Virat just lets this ball go, it pitches outside off, and I’m meant to be spinning the ball (away) towards first or second slip. This thing just continued on with the angle, I’m trying to spin it and it’s knocked out off-stump so I’m like, ‘You beauty!’,” he added.
“The Indian spinners came out in the first innings and were just spinning it wildly, going to second slip, bouncing off the middle — they were going everywhere. Then I went out and put less revs (on the ball) than the world does a day, and they’re just sliding on, I’m just getting LBWs with these non-turners,” he further added.
As far as the Pune Test is concerned, chasing a mammoth 441, India needed someone to bat for a longer duration and all hopes were pinned on Virat Kohli. Unfortunately, he could only manage to score 13. On the second delivery of the 17th over, Steve O’ Keefe pitched one outside the off-stump and Kohli left a straight delivery expecting it to turn. Nonetheless, it was poor anticipation as the ball did not turn and instead skid back to hit the off-stump. Australia won the game convincingly by 333 runs and O’ Keefe was adjudged the Man of the Match for figures of 6/35 in both innings. But, it was India who staged a remarkable comeback thereafter with a morale-boosting win in Bangalore. The Ranchi Test ended in a stalemate and the hosts sealed the series by having the last laugh at Dharamsala.