Pune: Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who predicted a 4-0 verdict in favour of India in the run-up to the four-match Test rubber against Australia, on Saturday blamed the pitch for the home team’s 333-run loss in the opening match at the Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium here. The Virat Kohli-led home side succumbed to their fourth biggest Test loss after Australian left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe spun a web to take identical figures of 6 for 35 in both the innings and break the pre-series favourites India’s backbone within just three days. The 36-year-old Harbhajan had earlier predicted India, who had thrashed New Zealand, England and Bangladesh recently, to win the series comfortably against the Australians. Full cricket scorecard: India vs Australia, 1st Test in Pune

Crediting the Kangaroos for pulling off a sensational win, Harbhajan said: “Credit to @CricketAus for playing unbelievable well on that wicket.” The Punjab tweaker, however, had a go at the pitch, which remained slow and low throughout the course of the game and hoped that the teams get better tracks in the remaining three matches of the rubber. “Let’s hope we play on good tracks from here onwards and get the right results,” he said on Twitter. Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif felt that the loss, a first at home since 2012 is a good wake-up call for the Indian side and said that too much of spin on the wicket could help both sides.”Kohli will be gutted with this performance. But it’s good that the bad game is done with early. Can’t see India repeating this,” he said. Steve O’Keefe never expected to spark batting collapse twice

“Good wake up call this for India. Track with too much spin evens the advantage. Congratulations to Australia for a fantastic victory,” he added. Hailing Australia skipper Smith’s defiant century in the second innings, former India opener Aakash Chopra said: “Steven Smith’s knock is the best that I’ve seen from an overseas skipper in India. Have you seen better?” Many former Australian greats also took to Twitter to congratulate the team, which registered their first victory in the sub-continent after a long 13-year gap.








With Australia already 1-0 up in the four-match series, both the sides will face off in the second Test from March 4 in Bengaluru.