Australia's Steve O'Keefe, right, celebrates the dismissal of India's Virat Kohli during the third day of the first test cricket match in Pune, India, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.
Australia's Steve O'Keefe, right, celebrates the dismissal of India's Virat Kohli during the third day of the first test cricket match in Pune, India, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. AP Photo - Rajanish Kakade

Man of the match confusion after Australia beats India

AUSTRALIA has snagged a win in India for the first time since October 2004, a time when the Baggy Green reigned supreme and long before any of the current side were even playing state cricket.

Over a decade of horrific tours to India - including a dreaded whitewash in 2013 - followed, hanging over the heads of Australian cricket and frustrating fans, but today there was some redemption.

Defining performances from Steve O'Keefe, who took match figures of 12-70, led the way on the dusty Pune wicket as India's batsmen fell to the 32-year-old's left arm tweakers.

Here are the main talking points from day three of the first Test.

CONFUSION OVER MAN OF THE MATCH

Steve O'Keefe's incredible match winning performance was easily the standout of the match, so fans understandably went into meltdown when Mitchell Starc was awarded a "player of the match" award at the post-match presentation.

Starc, who hit two handy tail-end knocks in clutch situations throughout the Test, was given the accolade for his all-round effort early on in the presentation's proceedings, prompting a surge of outrage from fans who thought the award was for Man of the Match.

The outrage didn't last long, though, as fans quickly caught on to the confusing situation and realised the award was a sponsorship accolade and not the official Man of the Match award.

The crisis was quickly averted as O'Keefe picked up the official title before heading back to the sheds. The bungle was compared to Steve Harvey's hilarious Miss Universe slip-up where he announced the wrong winner in front of millions of cringing fans.

O'KEEFE STUNS WITH RECORD MATCH FIGURES

Steve O'Keefe etched himself into the record books with his stellar performance, putting himself above the legendary Richie Benaud and becoming the first Aussie to get hit for under 100 runs while taking more than 10 wickets on Indian soil.

O'Keefe was king of the LBWs in the fourth innings, dismissing four of his six batsmen with skidding deliveries into their pads. It almost looked as if O'Keefe had stolen all of Nathan Lyon's thunder, but his off-spinning counterpart was able to take four of his own wickets to close out the match.

O'Keefe rocketed up the stakes on major betting websites, with William Hill offering $2.50 odds for the NSW spinner to be the highest wicket taker of the series.

"He's been phenomenal," Michael Clarke said as O'Keefe finished his final over of the match.

Here are the top three performances from Aussie spinners in India throughout history.

Stephen O'Keefe - 12-70, Pune, 2017

Jason Krejza - 12-358, Nagpur, 2008

Richie Benaud - 11-105, Kolkata, 1956

SMITH'S INCREDIBLE INDIA STAT

Steve Smith was up to his usual tricks on day three in Pune, hitting his 18th century - and fifth consecutive ton against India - in the second innings to put Australia in an undefeatable position.

Smith's knock blasted him past former legends in the record books, snagging a prestigious accolade against the home side.

The Aussie skipper briefly became the second-highest averaging batsman against India in the history of Test cricket (minimum 1000 career runs). Smith passed former Zimbabwe great Andy Flower with his knock, sending his average against the home side to a cool 95.54 before being dismissed. His average dropped back down to below Flower's after he was dismissed, but his overall average against India puts him above a selection of cricketing royalty.

Smith stands behind only Sir Everton Weekes (106.78) for the top spot, and sits above cricketing immortals such as David Boon (70.82), Ian Botham (70.64) and Jaques Kallis (69.36).

Here are the top five averages against India:

Sir Everton Weekes - 106.78

Andy Flower - 94.83

Steve Smith - 88.83

Younis Khan - 88.06

Zaheer Abbas - 87.00

KERRY O'KEEFFE SLAMS 'ARROGANT' INDIA

Australian Test legend Kerry O'Keeffe has criticised the home side for their attitude as India were rocked by Steve Smith's men on day two.

O'Keeffe told Triple M's The Weekenders program that Australia had simply fought harder throughout the Test match so far, outworking their heavily favoured hosts.

"All the predictions were 4-0 India, 3-0 India," O'Keeffe said.

"But Steve Smith you can tell in his face, he said 'stuff that, we're going to go over there and win'."

"India have played arrogantly. They've fielded like Pakistan, they've stood there when they've been caught out asking to go to the third umpire and we're making them pay for it.

"There's something about this (Australian) team. They're a driven group of men."

India came into the Test series in incredible form and had not lost a Test for 20 matches. It's an undefeated streak that stretches back to 2015, but O'Keeffe says that dominance is a thing of the past.

"The spider has been caught in its web and it's being eaten alive by Aussie mozzies," O'Keeffe stated.

Much maligned spinner Steve O'Keefe was the hero for Australia, taking six wickets in a devastating display of bowling.

Shane Warne was critical of O'Keefe early on day two, but the similarly named leg-spinner says Australia's star is as intelligent bowler as you will find.

"Warney is a hater because he doesn't have the viper, he hasn't the big breaker," O'Keeffe said.

"But what he has got - he knows his game, he's clever, he varies his pace. Some deliveries are ACDC other deliveries are Jose Feliciano."

News Corp Australia


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