Darren Lehmann, the Australian coach, has predicted India to strike back in the next three Tests after his side managed to stun the hosts in the first Test in Pune by 333 runs. It was India’s first loss in a home Test since December 2012.
“I think the way we played, we deserved to win by that much at the end,” Lehmann said on Sunday (February 26). “But they’re a quality side and the challenge for our group is to back that performance up in Bangalore. We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. India are a quality side, especially at home I think that’s the first Test they’ve lost in 20 Test matches so they’ll come back pretty hard.”
Contrary to the predictions made by most experts, Australia’s spin duo of Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon outshone their Indian counterparts with the former picking up a 12-wicket haul. Lehmann found similarities between O’Keefe’s performance and Mitchell Johnson’s menacing spell in Adelaide against England in the 2013-14 Ashes series. Johnson ripped through England’s batting lineup in that Test to end up with a seven-wicket haul that helped Australia win by 218 runs.
“An exceptional spell – I haven’t seen that since Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes with England in Adelaide when he tore them apart,” Lehmann observed. “We took 7 for 11 and that obviously turned the game. Twelve-for, 6 for 35 in both innings is pretty special. You always hope don’t you, as a player.”
Apart from the spinners, Lehmann reserved praise for Steve Smith, who crafted a hard-fought century in the second innings, that took the game away from India and opener Matt Renshaw’s efforts with the bat as ‘pretty special’ even when he bothered by a stomach bug.