(Reuters) – Australia beat India by 48 runs in a thrilling end to the first test at Adelaide Oval yesterday, with Nathan Lyon picking up seven wickets after Virat Kohli scored an inspired century for the visitors.
A match that had begun in high emotion after the death last month of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes ended in high drama after an absorbing final day in South Australia.
Set 364 to win after Australia declared on their overnight score of 290-5, India seemed to be on their way to an unlikely victory after a brilliant 141 from Kohli and a gritty 99 from opener Murali Vijay.
But Lyon, a former groundsman at Adelaide Oval, turned the match the home team’s way with his offspinners, as India’s tail collapsed and the tourists were bowled out for 315.
“This first test is one we will remember and cherish for the rest of our careers,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said of the first match since the death of his good friend.
“He’s in our minds, he always will be. He will be for the rest of my life.
“Every test match you play for Australia you have a lot to play for but obviously this series is even closer to our hearts.”
Lyon finished with 7-152, giving him 12 wickets for the match, a career-best, and handing the Australians the early advantage in the four-match series which resumes in Brisbane next week.
Clarke will miss the rest of the series after injuring a hamstring while fielding on Saturday, the latest in a series of back and leg problems that have hampered the Australian skipper.
Kohli, filling in for Mahendra Singh Dhoni as India’s captain, almost won the match single-handedly for his country. He scored centuries in both innings and dominated Australia’s bowlers on a pitch favouring spin.
His career-best 141 came off just 175 deliveries and featured 16 fours and one six. He also shared a third wicket partnership of 185 with Vjay, who made half-centuries in each innings but fell agonisingly short of a deserved hundred.
With India seemingly in control at 242-2 after tea, Vijay suddenly had an attack of nerves and threw his wicket away with a rash attempt to reach triple figures, trapped lbw by Lyon after swiping at the ball.
His departure triggered a catastrophic batting collapse as India lost their last eight wickets for just 73 runs with Lyon the chief destroyer.
Kohli continued to play a lone hand but once he mistimed a pull shot and was caught in the deep, the end came quickly for the visitors.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys played,” Kohli said.
“At no point did we back off. And we are not going to back off either. If at any stage that we had in mind that we might play for a draw, we would have lost by 150 runs, to be honest.”
Australia 1st innings 517 for 7 decl (S. Smith 162no, D. Warner 145, M. Clarke 128)
India 1st innings 444 (V. Kohli 115, C. Pujara 73, A. Rahane 62, M. Vijay 53; N. Lyon 5-134)
Australia 2nd innings(Overnight: 290-5)
C. Rogers c Ro. Sharma b K. Sharma 21
D. Warner b K. Sharma 102
S. Watson b Shami 33
M. Clarke c Saha b Aaron 7
S. Smith not out 52
M. Marsh c Vijay b Ro. Sharma 40
B. Haddin not out 14
Extras (b-1 lb-6 nb-9 w-5) 21
Total (for 5 wickets
declared, 69 overs) 290
Fall of wickets: 1-38 C. Rogers,2-140 S. Watson,3-168 M. Clarke,4-213 D. Warner,5-266 M. Marsh Did not bat: P. Siddle, M. Johnson, R. Harris, N. Lyon Bowling M. Shami 11 – 2 – 42 – 1 I. Sharma 14 – 3 – 41 – 0(nb-6) K. Sharma 16 – 2 – 95 – 2 M. Vijay 6 – 0 – 27 – 0 Ro. Sharma 12 – 2 – 35 – 1 V. Aaron 10 – 0 – 43 – 1(nb-2 w-1)
India 2nd innings (Target: 364 runs)
M. Vijay lbw b Lyon 99
S. Dhawan c Haddin b Johnson 9
C. Pujara c Haddin b Lyon 21
V. Kohli c M. Marsh b Lyon 141
A. Rahane c Rogers b Lyon 0
Ro. Sharma c Warner b Lyon 6
W. Saha b Lyon 13
K. Sharma not out 4
M. Shami c Johnson b Harris 5
V. Aaron lbw b Johnson 1
I. Sharma st Haddin b Lyon 1
Extras (b-5 lb-8 w-2) 15
Total (all out, 87.1 overs) 315
Fall of wickets: 1-16 S. Dhawan,2-57 C. Pujara,3-242 M. Vijay,4-242 A. Rahane,5-277 Ro. Sharma,6-299 W. Saha,7-304 V. Kohli,8-309 M. Shami,9-314 V. Aaron,10-315 I. Sharma Bowling M. Johnson 16 – 2 – 45 – 2(w-2) R. Harris 19 – 6 – 49 – 1 N. Lyon 34.1 – 5 – 152 – 7 P. Siddle 9 – 3 – 21 – 0 S. Watson 2 – 0 – 6 – 0 S. Smith 3 – 0 – 18 – 0 M. Marsh 4 – 1 – 11 – 0 Referees Umpire: Marais Erasmus Umpire: Ian Gould TV umpire: Mick Martell Match referee: Jeff Crowe Result: Australia won by 48 runs