ndia vs Australia: Virat Kohli’s boys break spirited Aussie lower-order to win historic first Test in Adelaide – India defeated Australia in the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval by 31 runs on Monday to go 1-0 up in the four-Test Border Gavaskar series.
It was a historic win for the visitors because Virat Kohli and Co became the first-ever Indian side to win the first Test during a Down Under tour.
After India got rid of Australia’s regular batsmen, Australia’s tail fought hard and frustrated and threatened the Indians for an upset on Day 5.
The duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins batted for almost 16 overs and led Australia’s chase with their spirited fight. The Indians began to feel the pressure when the hosts needed less than 100 runs and their bowlers failed to create any trouble for the batsmen.
In the 101st over, it was Indian fast bowler Mohammed Shami who made the much-needed breakthrough that let the visitors breathe a sigh of relief. Shami bowled one wide of off before Starc attempted to play it through covers but ended up giving a joint-world record 11th catch to Rishabh Pant in this Test.
By doing so, he equalled legendary wicketkeepers AB de Villiers and English Jack Russell for the world record of 11 catches in a Test.
Eight overs later, the main tail-ender was removed and from there, India were inches away from a sweet win at the Adelaide Oval.
Bumrah was the man for India who bowled to outside off and after all the graft, Cummins chose to play a loose shot. He tried to cut but the ball flew straight to Kohli in the slip cordon.
After Cummins and Starc departed, the likes of Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood took the charge to frustrate the visitors as they batted nearly for 10 overs and took their side very close to a remarkable victory.
However, the history had to go the Indians’ way as Ashwin who was unlucky for 33.4 overs, produced the biggest blow to the Aussies by making the final breakthrough. Ashwin dismissed Hazlewood and handed his side a nail-biting win at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.
Earlier, Australia resumed the final day on 104 for 4 but Indians managed to make a breakthrough just when two Australians looked to threaten with a building partnership.
India removed Travis Head and Shaun Marsh in the first session.
Starting from overnight 104 for four, the Head-Marsh partnership lasted only 7.4 overs before India forced a breakthrough with the old Kookaburra ball.
Head (14) was the first to go, with Ishant Sharma (1-35) bowling a sharp bouncer that followed the batsman and left him no room. The ball looped up to gully where Ajinkya Rahane made no mistake.
The duo had added 31 runs with the onus now on Marsh and Paine as the last recognised batting pair.
Marsh shouldered the responsibility and scored his first half-century in the fourth innings of a Test off 146 balls. It was his 10th Test half-century overall.
He had looked comfortable at the crease all morning, but Jasprit Bumrah (1-23) removed him after the drinks’ break. The big moment came as the ball moved away just a tad and Marsh gave the slightest of edges to be caught behind in the 73rd over.
It was Rishabh Pant’s ninth dismissal in the Test, equalling MS Dhoni (9 versus Australia, Melbourne in 2014) as the second-best haul by an Indian wicketkeeper in overseas Tests.
Soon after the play resumed post the lunch break, Bumrah removed then set batsman Paine, who threw away his wicket as he attempted to pull a short delivery but ended up getting a top-edge which was easily caught by Pant.
It was Pant’s 10th catch this Test and that put him on par with Wriddhiman Saha for most number of catches in a Test for an Indian wicketkeeper.
India scored 250 in their first innings with Cheteshwar Pujara anchoring with his 16th Test century. Australia replied with 235 and conceded a 15-run lead. The visitors then finished 307 in their second innings, including a collapse of 5 for 25, and set a 323-run target on day four.