Australia's Steve O'Keefe, left, and Nathan Lyon celebrate after Murali Vijay's wicket during third day of the first cricket test match against India in Pune, India, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Australia's Steve O'Keefe, left, and Nathan Lyon celebrate after Murali Vijay's wicket during third day of the first cricket test match against India in Pune, India, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) Rajanish Kakade

SATURDAY SPORT SPRAY: Our world-class players stand up

BRAVO! The planning started long before the Australian summer sunset, the selectors accepted fire must be fought with fire sending five spinners to Dubai, the dustbowl education was exhaustive and, finally, the execution was exact.

The timely preparation culminated superbly to upstage a cocky host who simply didn't see it coming.

Where was that side who bickered about homework just four years prior? Or who, after a promising first day of the series, capitulated into a heap at Sri Lanka just six months ago? This time there was no preoccupation in Australia's determination to combat India on their own terms - a raging turner.

This was all highlighted, of course, by the unleashing of a consummate professional and importantly unknown quantity in international circles in Stephen O'Keeffe upon a spinner's dream.

That said, there should not suddenly be a dramatic shift in expectations. India's arrogance was caught out, their ego bruised and rest assured they'll bounce back hard.

I don't believe the Australian team will make the same mistake. They know full well - after 10 years between drinks - that you're always under siege on the sub-continent and wins aren't handed out on a platter on the sub-continent.

And I maintain faith Australia will continue to make a strong account of themselves and perhaps win another match in this series.

But I still think India are favourites to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

We're not suddenly better than India. Ashwin and Jadeja are still ranked the number one and two bowlers in the world - due largely to their ability on home soil.

Virat Kohli is still right behind Smith atop the ICC batting rankings, and after his worst performance in India it's hard to imagine he'll fail as magnificently again this entire series.

World class players stand up when the cookie - or, in this case, an Indian wicket - crumbles.



FREE STORY: Haters gonna hate, but we still love youse all

FREE STORY: Haters gonna hate, but we still love youse all

THE DEX: taking care of business for almost 160 years

Spirit of the Magpies continues to fire in finals

premium_icon Spirit of the Magpies continues to fire in finals

WRIGHT determined to put pride back into the black and white jersey.

Local Partners