India v Australia – Pune Test: What we learnt from Pune

Australia’s win in Pune wasn’t just incredible, it was illuminating. Here’s what we learnt about the match:


One. Should the ICC ever introduce Timeless Tests again, we know our boys are adept to excel on 13th and 14th day pitches. Indeed, if they ever play cricket on Mars, we know Smith and co could draw upon this Pune experience as part of their acclimatisation!

Fair dinkim, has there ever been a dodgier pitch? That shamelessly doctored thing in Pune was more suited to a dirt bike track than the Border-Gavasker series. And yet our boys prevailed. Better still, they dominated!

Just brilliant fellas, and you do realise you’ve caused headaches for our local curators, yeah? I mean, now they’re not gonna know whether to go with green and bouncy or cratered and grubbing? But fear not, Channel 9 will insist we keep turning out roads so they get 5 days of content, so it’ll be less a conundrum and more a hypothetical.


Two. When Steve O’Keefe makes someone eat their words, he makes ‘em choke on them. His 12 for 70 emptied a bottle of Tabasco sauce on Shane Warne’s baked beans and then insisted he snort wasabi with every forkful. Actually, Tabasco doesn’t quite do his figures justice. Make that ‘Professor Payne’s Sphincter Shrinker Hot Sauce,’ which has 1.5 million Scoville Units. (That’s 700 times hotter than Tabasco!)


Warnie’s utterly graceless dismissal of O’Keefe’s merits in the months leading to this series was something many hoped he’d eat. Well, we got our wish, alright. O’Keefe force fed every one of those criticisms down Warne’s throat and did the world a favour by shutting him up for 3 glorious days. It was as satisfying a comeback as there’s been and surely will have Warnie marrying his opinions with trepidation going forward (and if not marrying, at least staying the night!)


Three. India use DRS as well as Gomer Pyle would use missile navigation technology. Fair dinkum, how do you squander all your reviews so early in so many innings?

The BCCI resisted adopting DRS all these years maintaining they weren’t satisfied with the technology. Well, perhaps they had other misgivings? Perhaps they were concerned their egocentric players would continually burn through reviews in acts of desperation leaving little left for howlers. If so, Pune vindicated that prognostication; and if the BCCI felt this would put them at a disadvantage, they were right.


Four. Mitchell Starc is more than just a handy tailender.

We’ve always thought Starc was a competent bat, and his calculated hitting in both innings validated that appraisal. He surely now has claims on being labeled something just under an all-rounder. Perhaps, a ‘nigh-on-rounder’ or a ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter,-margarine-rounder.’ Either way, he’s a star, and it’s great to see him digging deep like O’Keefe and making an ass of Warne for writing him off back when.


Five. Steven Smith has furthered his claims to being our best since Bradman.

What more can you say about the likable Smith? Nothing can stop him from piling on runs. Sure he had a slice of luck here and there, but it took more than just the rub of the green to make runs on that pitch. You had to be a batsmen of rare skill to find a way. Just ask the clueless looking Indian top order if you doubt it.

Smith continues to astound with his feats and will be a worthy number two to Bradman should he finish his career averaging 60.


Six. Matt Renshaw has the courage of an ANZAC.

Just when we thought he might be soft for retiring in the first dig, he bewitches us with a bravery you’d associate with Weary Dunlop.

To see him finding his way back to his feet after throwing up on his haunches was as inspiring as it was distressing. It also put his retirement in the first innings into perspective. I mean, if he could get up off the canvas like that, then that call of nature must have been debilitating. I just hope he didn’t go with a half-flush for the sake of people queuing for that cubicle!


Seven. Bangalore is going to be fantastic!



About Punxsutawney Pete

Punxsutawney Pete see's a shadow: twelve more months of winter


  1. Brilliant PP. I wonder if history will judge this to be pivotal for both teams, and also how pitches are produced. I hope so.

    I’m off to the shops for a dozen bottles of Professor Payne’s Sphincter Shrinker Hot Sauce.

    Thanks; really enjoying your pieces.

  2. Punxsu.... Pete says

    There’s always something …..

    Here’s what we learnt about the match? Here’s what we learnt *from* the match. Back in me box now.

  3. Punxsu.... Pete says

    Hey Mickey, Professor Payne’s Sphincter Shrinker Hot Sauce is frightening is it not? It really is a product. Googled for something to contextualize the Tabasco, and it came first on the search.

    Just loved that first test. You put up with cricket’s many, many shortcomings for games like that. 3 days of sheer delight was Pune

  4. PP,
    Some of my thoughts:
    1. I actually thought that O’Keefe would be more of a threat than Lyon – but not to that extent.
    2. Thanks for possibly the first ever mention of Gomer Pyle on the Almanac? Golllyyy.
    3. Although it is coming back to bite them now, I don’t blame India for resisting DRS for all those years. Ball-tracking still throws up a few dodgy calls, I reckon.
    4. Starc’s 60 in the first dig was the first dagger in India’s heart. It was hugely important.
    5. I agree totally in that S Smith could well end up being our second greatest ever. And just uttering those words is enormous.
    6. Let’s not get too carried away – what if India had won the toss?
    7. This is going to be one hell of a series.
    Thanks again, PP

  5. i’m with Smokie, I still can’t believe how Rahul was given, then how it was upheld, and then how he was pilloried on social media. and media media. never out.

    still, I hate batsmen, so sucked in! get forward. hit the thing etc

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Starc now averaging more than Alan Davidson with the bat. Genuine bowling all-rounder. Could bat at 7.

    SPD Smith is a superstar. What a pleasure it is to watch him bat. One of his finest knocks.

    Tthis result has breathed much life into the interest in the series. What a pity it’s not a part of the (hopefully very) soon to be implemented World Test Championship.

  7. Fantastic PP a really entertaining read ( agree totally Smokie and Luke )

  8. Punxsu.... Pete says

    Thanks for reading fellas

    Smokie, agree, shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but it’s hard not to when the boys play that well. I’ve found it hard to support the Aussies over the last few years, but this team is just so likable. This was the most enjoyable win for me since 94/95 (in the Windies.) Love it when we’re the underdogs.

    Pete, a big part of that ball struck the pad outside off, didn’t it? But I think when it’s been given out, that’s all DRS needs (?). From there it was smashing into middle and leg.

    Luke, yeah, as good a bowling all rounder as Mitchell Johnson. Starc is an absolute star. Likeable too.

    Rulebook, been keeping an eye on Ferguson since Hobart and just horrified about his recent Sheild form. I think he averages under 10 in his last 10 innings? Likeable guy, like Starc, so I hope he sorts himself out. (And PS: your Redbacks just got up against Jan’s Bulls. Looks like us Vics could have another shield final showdown with yas. Boofs boy made more runs. He’s a prospect. Averages just under 50 now in the shield.)

  9. If we’re talking cricket how good was the knock by Martin Guptill yesterday ? The Kiwis chasing a winning tally of 280 got there with 7 wickets and plenty of overs in hand. Guptill led the way with 180.

    In his first match back from a hamstring injury that kept him out for 4 weeks this was a knock to savour. Especially if the missus is a Kiwi. The Jarpies led by A B De Villiers set a good tally on a slowish wicket but they hadn’t counted on Guptill’s knock. Over a century in boundaries, including 11 sixes,at far better than a run a ball he masterminded a superb victory. Ross Taylor assisted in a big stand. Now the series is level 2-2, so off to Eden Park in Auckland for the finale.

    So this will give us something to watch Saturday. We’ve day one of the Second test in Bangalore, this clash at Auckland,and ,possibly, maybe watch a race.


  10. Peter Warrington says

    Punxsu, i couldn’t see more than the very last millimetre of the ball being in line with more than 1mm of the stump. Fair enough that that’s umpire’s call, but boy, it was a bold call. and people trashing the batsman for reviewing – the bandwagon of contempt picked up speed very quickly.

    (I feel a bit sick defending this case because i think it’s a syupid law to begin with. Still…)

Leave a Comment