It wasn't supposed to be like this.Australia could talk about plans and preparation, of tactics and mindsets, all they liked but it wouldn't make any difference.They may as well have held a training camp at Trent Bridge rather than Dubai, for all the good it would do.The experts, of both the professional and armchair variety, were united. Better players had come to India, better teams had left India with reputations dented and confidence shredded. What chance for this unproven rabble? It'll be 5-0, even though there are only four Tests, such will be the scale of this glorious Indian victory.David Warner and Steven Smith? Sure, they're good enough and might make runs but they would never be able to dominate Ravi 1 and Ravi 2 on pitches imported from a Martian crater factory.And that new kid. Green as you like. And he only turned greener when he got to the middle. Literally crapping himself in the face of a fizzing and jagging ball. Welcome to Poo-ne. Runs on and off the field. Haw haw.That Peter Handscomb fella, well he plays so far back he may as well tattoo the letters L.B.W. on his head. In permanent ink, not henna.Watching Matthew Wade keep to spin is like watching a seal try to juggle, for goodness sake: he was dumped after his last tour here. And the quicks will break their backs trying to get pace and life on Mars.The Marshes defy the laws of selection. The less said about them the better.And the 'spinners'? Pfft. Not exactly Warney are they? And remember what happened to him? Pencil King Kohli in for a century. A double. Maybe a thousand. Who could deny him? Not when he's on a roll. A nineteen match roll at that.As it turned out, the rabble could.Matt Renshaw could, when he overcame his tummy troubles and showed a renewed stoicism in his second innings, replacing the image of him running off the field the previous day with one of him pushing past a bout of vomiting to remain at the crease. He carried his fresh youthful confidence, unfazed by reputation, and patient application straight through customs and onto the MCA Stadium.Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood could, with that new ball partnership that is fast developing into one of the best in world, even here. Hazlewood so tight his pitch map looked like he had only bowled a single delivery and Starc - who cares what his pitch map resembles when he can make batsmen rear and fend to their doom with those spitting, venomous balls? Or when he can outscore every opposition batsman.Handscomb could, when he set the highest standard in the field, throwing himself fearlessly at half - no - quarter chances, the speed of his reflexes threatening to break the sound barrier. Boom.
The spinners could. Oh boy they could. While homework has been a dirty word for Australia in India in the past these two had done theirs. Adopting a fuller length than their more experienced Indian counterparts and trusting in the natural variations provided by the pitch, Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe had the audacity to beat India at their own game in their own backyard.Especially O'Keefe. Unloved, unfancied, unlucky O'Keefe. Overlooked as so many others were tried and discarded.When O'Keefe made one turn, Shane Warne - on TV commentary - scoffed that it must have hit a rock. As if O'Keefe could rip it. In fact, he didn't have to rip it to put doubt in the batsmen's minds and foil them with the straight ones. The only rock required was one big enough for all his critics to hide under as he produced a spell his coach described as the most devastating he'd seen since Mitchell Johnson in Adelaide against England in 2013. That spell.Steven Norman John O'Keefe. Slow left arm. Slaying like Johnson.As if to prove his first innings figures weren't an aberration he simply replicated them, prompting those who don't follow Australian domestic cricket to wonder where on earth he'd been hiding. Now the most successful Australian bowler in India. Second only to Ian Botham as a visiting bowler. Who would have predicted that?And then there was Smith. Smith definitely could.Remember that humiliating loss in Hobart, the last in a string of humiliating defeats? Smith then looked a broken man, a broken captain in charge of a broken team.Ernest Hemingway famously wrote that the world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. Smith is stronger in those places, the Australian team is stronger in those places. Hobart seems a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.Yes, he was dropped several times on his way to his 18th Test century, his fifth consecutive ton against India. No, it wasn't always pretty but there were reasons he declared it, after the match, to be a contender for his best. He adapted and adopted, scrapping tenaciously. He was improvising, learning and reacting at the crease in a way he never has before. Even the Indian journalists, sitting in the press box, clapped in appreciation when he reached triple figures, recognising his class.This wasn't a perfect team performance and Australia are not the finished article or the greatest team to come here. Warner and Wade failed to fire with the bat and Handscomb's technique will be probed further. The Marshes' many critics are unlikely to be silenced by their performances in this Test. But that only makes the sheer scale of this victory - this hammering - even more impressive.And, of course, this is just one Test. India are unlikely to fold so meekly, to field so sloppily, to make such panicked reviews during the next three stops on this tour. Australian may lose every remaining match.But there are some wins you know will be referred to in years to come as 'famous'. This will be described as Australia's famous victory. The Pune Test.Speaking after the match, Virat Kohli said the loss was no big deal.Maybe not for India.For Australia, after a 4502-day drought, it could hardly have been bigger. Maybe this was a fluke. Maybe they'll be flogged in each of the remaining matches.After all, it wasn't supposed to be like this.But it was like this.And for Australia it was glorious.