Sports Cricket 25 Feb 2017 Steve O'Keefe will b ...

Steve O'Keefe will be key for rest of series: Steve Smith

PTI
Published Feb 25, 2017, 4:33 pm IST
Updated Feb 25, 2017, 4:34 pm IST
Australia captain Steve Smith has praised Man-of-the-Match Steve O'Keefe for his 12-wicket haul in the 333-run win over India.
Steve O'Keefe (C) surrounded by his teammates after picking up a wicket against India in Pune. (Photo: PTI)
 Steve O'Keefe (C) surrounded by his teammates after picking up a wicket against India in Pune. (Photo: PTI)

Pune: Australia captain Steven Smith was all praise for man-of-the-match Steve O'Keefe, terming his match-haul of 12 for 70 an "incredible" performance after the spinner's heroics led the team to 333-run win over India.

"I'm proud of the way the guys played. O'Keefe bowled beautifully and was outstanding. We've got some good players of spin and good spinners. When he pulled his length back slightly (O'Keefe), it felt he'd get a wicket every ball. He's going to be a key player in the rest of the series," he said.

 

Smith said winning the toss proved to be an advantage on a track like this.

"We thought it was going to be hard work (after looking at the wicket at the start of the Test match). Winning the toss was a bonus. We had good plans in place. It's been 4502 days since Australia won a Test in India, I know it to the day. A massive lead in this wicket helped."

On how he would rate his second innings century, Smith said, "Right up there. You need to have some luck on a wicket like that. It took a lot of grit and determination. Put on some total on the board for the boys to defend."

 

O'Keefe gave a lot of credit for his performance to Smith and his team's fielding.

"The first innings was a bit of blur. The ball tended to skid on more than spin so it exposed the stumps and the lbw. My first six wickets was ordinary, I had to change it up quickly. A lot of credit should go to the captain and the fielders. Our batters worked really hard not to get beaten on one edge," said O'Keefe.

"It is good to go 1-0 up but there is a lot of work to do in the rest of the series. I am enjoying my experience (on the spinning pitches). I am looking forward to the second Test in Bangalore," he added.

 

His spin partner Nathan Lyon said they tried to replicate what India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been doing.

"Our plan was to compete hard, we did. We saw a lot of Ashwin, and we tried to replicate what he does in these conditions. Great, I'll take this pitch everywhere."

Australia coach Darren Lehmann said his players learnt lessons from the preceding tour of Sri Lanka.

"Great result, really impressed with our batting. It's a challenge for both sides. We learned some lessons from Sri Lanka. A challenge to replicate that in Bangalore," concluded the coach.

 

...
Location: India, Maharashtra, Pune




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