O’Keefe: It still hasn’t sunk in

The Australian spinner, however, warned that there is still a lot of work left to be done, and that today was just one of the good days.

Australia’s Steve O’Keefe... a career best six for 35 in just his fourth Test.   -  K. Murali Kumar

It has been a long journey for Steve O’Keefe to make it to the Australian team. The 32-year-old is playing just his fourth Test match, and was always expected to play second fiddle to Nathan Lyon on the tour. But he surprised everyone with his career best spell of 6/35 against a team known to play spin well. “It still hasn’t sunk in for me. It all happened so quickly and it’s amazing how things can change over here,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe wasn’t having the best of days, and it was only after lunch that things changed for him. “I came out during the lunch break as I wasn’t happy with the way I was bowling. I was bowling more like I would, back in Australia, so I went in with Sri (S. Sriram) and tried to get more comfortable.”

On the pitch, which has been a topic of debate, O’Keefe said it was along expected lines but it can sometimes work against you as a spinner. “I have never seen anything like this in Australia, but we expected that coming here. You won’t see lush green wickets, we prepared for it in Dubai and that helped. As a spinner this kind of surface increases your workload, as you are expected to do the job for the country.”

The change of ends worked wonders for O’Keefe, but that wasn’t how it was planned. “We were debating that. We switched, so that Nathan could exploit the footmarks created by Starc. But in the end it was some good fortune for me, I guess.”

He also praised captain Steve Smith, and said that Sriram played a crucial role in his development. “It was important to be backed by Smith, it’s amazing what can happen under a good captain. Sri probably had the biggest influence, he understands the conditions well and also knows the mindset of the batsmen. I worked with him in Chennai as well, and that too helped me get used to the conditions.”

However, the spinner warned that there is still a lot of work left to be done, and that today was just one of the good days. “India still has a lot of quality, hopefully we can win but today was just one good day of cricket for us,” he summed up.