PUNE -  Australian spinner Steve O'Keefe Friday said he expected India to come back fighting after his career-best haul of 6-35 left the hosts on the ropes in the first Test in Pune.

An unbeaten half century from skipper Steve Smith helped the tourists reach 143-4 at stumps on day two, which saw a total of 15 wickets fall at Pune's Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. O'Keefe, whose six wickets came off just 24 balls, helped Australia bundle India out for 105 in the afternoon session before the visiting batsmen rammed home their advantage against the world's top Test team.

Smith was on 59 and Mitchell Marsh on 21 was also at the crease as Australia stretched their lead to 298 runs by the close on a turning track at India 's newest Test venue. "It's an exciting contest -- even with 300 on the board, it's still gettable. We have seen two guys bat well. Like Steve Smith , you can get runs on it," O'Keefe told reporters. "I think they are going to get back stronger and better in their second innings and they are going to put up a lot of fight as you would expect from this Indian unit. "We have had a good day's cricket but that's all that is. We've still got a lot of work to do if we going to win this match."

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three wickets, including openers David Warner and Shaun Marsh. Smith , who was dropped three times, went on to register his 21st Test half-century in his 51st match. First innings top-scorer Matt Renshaw, who did not open the batting after being off the field with nausea during most of India 's innings, hung on with Smith for a 52-run partnership.

Renshaw (31), who also had to temporarily retire ill with a stomach upset during his first innings knock on Thursday, once again found it hard to cope with the heat as he suffered from bouts of dehydration. But the Indian fielders were also left feeling the heat as they dropped four catches. Ishant Sharma finally clung on to a skier at long-off after Renshaw mistimed a hit off Jayant Yadav.

Smith then steadied the innings with Mitchell Marsh as the duo tackled the spinners with aplomb. But it was O'Keefe who stole the show earlier in the day with a blitz of wickets after lunch that saw India 's middle and lower order crumble as the hosts conceded a 155-run first innings lead. O'Keefe was largely ineffective in the morning session but then bamboozled the Indians. "I probably went into my comfort zone like I bowl in Australia but then I worked with Sri (Sriram Sridharan, Australia's spin consultant) in the break and it worked," said O'Keefe.

The 32-year-old's stunning spell put Australia firmly in charge in the opening contest the four-Test series but it was a day to forget for Indian captain Virat Kohli, who was dismissed for a rare duck. Kohli, who has hit four double centuries since July, walked after just two deliveries for his first duck in a Test since August 2014. Paceman Mitchell Starc, who made a gritty 61 in Australia's first innings score of 260, took two wickets including the prized scalp of Kohli. Indian opener Lokesh Rahul top-scored for the home side with 64 but hurt his shoulder while going for a mistimed heave at long-off and only took to the field two overs before the end of play.

Indian coach Anil Kumble said the team's performance was just "one bad day", stressing there was still lot of cricket left in the match. "It was disappointing... once Rahul got out, we lost those four wickets in five or six balls. That certainty pushed us back," said Kumble, adding that "dropped chances also hurt the hosts". The number-two ranked Australia, who lost their last nine Tests in Asia, are looking for an upset win against the world's top side.

 

 

Scoreboard

AUSTRALIA 1ST INNINGS:

(OVERNIGHT: 256-9):

D Warner b U. Yadav      38

M Renshaw c Vijay b Ashwin      68

S Smith c Kohli b Ashwin               27

S Marsh c Kohli b J. Yadav             16

P Handscomb lbw b Jadeja          22

M Marsh lbw b Jadeja    4

M Wade lbw b U. Yadav                8

M Starc c Jadeja b Ashwin            61

S O'Keefe c Saha b U. Yadav        0

N Lyon lbw b U. Yadav   0

J Hazlewood not out       1

EXTRAS: (lb6, nb9)           15

TOTAL: (all out; 94.5 overs)          260

FOW: 1-82, 1-82, 2-119, 3-149, 4-149, 5-166, 6-190, 7-196, 8-205, 9-205, 10-260.

BOWLING: Sharma 11-0-27-0, Ashwin 34.5-10-63-3, J Yadav 13-1-58-1, Jadeja 24-4-74-2, U. Yadav 12-3-32-4.

INDIA 1ST INNING:

M Vijay c Wade b Hazlewood     10

L Rahul c Warner b O'Keefe         64

C Pujara c Wade b Starc 6

V Kohli c Handscomb b Starc       0

A Rahane c Handscomb b O'Keefe           13

R Ashwin c Handscomb b Lyon   1

W Saha c Smith b O'Keefe            0

R Jadeja c Starc b O'Keefe            2

J Yadav st Wade b O'Keefe          2

U Yadav c Smith b O'Keefe           4

I Sharma not out              2

EXTRAS: (nb1)   1

TOTAL: (all out; 40.1)      105

FOW: 1-26, 2-44, 3-44, 4-94, 5-95, 6-95, 7-95 , 8-98, 9-101, 10-105

Bowling: Starc 9-2-38-2 (1nb), O'Keefe 13.1-2-35-6, Hazlewood 7-3-11-1, Lyon 11-2-21-1

Australia 2nd innings:

D. Warner lbw b Ahswin               10

S. Marsh lbw b Ashwin  0

S. Smith not out                59

P. Handscomb c Vijay b Ashwin 19

M. Renshaw c Sharma b J. Yadav               31

M. Marsh not out            21

Extras: (lb 3)       3

Total: (4 wickets; 46 overs)          143

FOW: 1-10, 2-23, 3-61, 4-113.

BOWLING: Ashwin 16-3-68-3, Jadeja 17-6-26-0, U Yadav 5-0-13-0, J Yadav 5-0-27-1, I Sharma 3-0-6-0.

TOSS: Australia

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG)

TV UMPIRE: Richard Illingworth (ENG)

MATCH REFEREE: Chris Broad (ENG)