Smith reassured me, helping me stay calm, says O’Keefe
Pune, Feb 24 (IANS) Buoyed after helping Australia gain a vital 155-run first innings lead, left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe, who got his maiden six-wicket haul in the first cricket Test against India, credited his skipper Steve Smith for helping him stay calm here on Friday.
Australia took a commanding 298 run-lead in the second innings, after ending the second day’s play at 143/4, with Smith (59) and Mitchell Marsh (21) remaining undefeated.
Earlier in the day, the 32-year-old O’Keefe spun a web taking 6/35 to bundle out the famed Indian batting line-up for a paltry 105 in response to the Kangaroos’ first innings score of 260.
Elated at the comparison, the left-armer who went wicketless in his first six overs in the morning session, said Smith’s backing helped him regain the confidence to attack the Indian batsmen.
“The first six overs were ordinary. Then I got a change of ends and from there it spun a bit more. And Steven Smith reassured me, helping me stay calm after an ordinary spell in the morning,” he said after the day’s play.
“I suppose I was just nervous, and I was trying to bowl the way I do in Australia. But made some subtle changes, got a tap on the head from Boof (Smith) in the dressing room and happy to turn things around,” he added.
O’Keefe’s feat prompted fans to draw comparison with English left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who tormented the Indians during England’s 2-1 Test series win in 2012.
“Nice to relate to Monty because he bowls the same stuff and had some success over here and S. Sriram has also been outstanding.”
Commenting on how the day panned out for the Aussies, he said: “Everything went to plan, well backed up in the field, especially Handscomb. And good finish to the day with the captain Steven Smith.”
He however, expected India to bounce back in the second innings with such a strong batting lineup.
“I expect it to be different in the second innings, India have a long batting line-up,” he said.