India won the opening Test of a series in Australia for the first time after claiming a thrilling 31-run victory at the Adelaide Oval.
It was an enthralling clash. Test enthusiasts witnessed a well-balanced battle, each side contributing as a unit with both bat and ball. Right until the end of the fourth day it was a see-saw affair as India set the tone while Australia pursued closely.
From a batting perspective, it was India’s No 3 Cheteshwar Pujara who stood out, with his 123 in India’s first innings taking them to 250 after winning the toss.
Australia replied with verve, considering the drama unfolding around them, and fought to a total of 235 – Travis Head solely responsible for his side posting a competitive reply thanks to his grinding 72 off 167 balls.
Pujara top-scored for his side once again in the second innings, but could only manage 71, with a cameo 44 from KL Rahul and a crucial 70 from Ajinkya Rahane. This saw India post 307, despite a fantastic six-for from Nathan Lyon.
Australia’s reply was admirable.
With a target of 323, Australia stood a chance at the start of day five, with Marsh on 31 and Head on 11. The Baggy Greens showed great fight during their chase.
Despite a top-four collapse, Shaun Marsh’s 60 and Tim Paine’s 41 were the only decent performances from their batters.
Both bowling units were remarkable as a collective throughout the Test, but it was India’s bowling attack that gave their side the advantage. Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin were excellent during the final session of day four, taking two wickets apiece, and Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah joined the Aussie destruction by removing Head and Mash respectively on day five.
Bumrah took the crucial wicket of Paine, which set Australia back at 187-7 and gave India the advantage.
An impressive fight by the Australian tail, however, saw Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins both score 28 before they were dismissed as Australia were reduced to 228-8 and then 259-9.
Lyon backed up the bowling masterclass that saw him take 6-122 during India’s second innings with the bat. His brave contribution of 38 took Australia within 31 runs of victory.
Josh Hazlewood could not deny Ashwin his third wicket of the innings and sixth of the match as Kohli wildly celebrated his countries’ sixth Test victory in Australia and first in a decade.
Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images