Steven-Smith-Captain-of-Australia
Photo credit: @BCCI

Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe picked up a career-best six for 35 to help Australia take command of the first test against India after 15 wickets fell on a bowler-dominated second day of the contest on Friday.

Playing only his fifth test and first in India, O’Keefe took all his wickets in the space of 24 deliveries, including three in an over, to trigger a spectacular collapse and help Australia bundle out India for 105 in their first innings.

Australia took a first innings lead of 155, a significant advantage on a spin-friendly track at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, which is making its debut as a test centre.

The touring side, who have lost their last nine tests in Asia and were considered underdogs before the start of the four-match series, reached 143 for four at stumps in their second innings, an overall lead of 298 runs.

Captain Steve Smith was unbeaten after a chance-filled 59, during which he was dropped three times, with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh 21 not out.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up three quick wickets to boost India’s hopes of restricting Australia to a low second innings total but Smith and Matt Renshaw (31) then added 52 for the fourth to boost the touring side.

Replying to Australia’s 260, the world’s top-ranked side, unbeaten in their previous 19 tests, lost their last seven wickets for 11 runs as O’Keefe ran through their batsmen to pick up his maiden five-wicket haul.

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