India make statement of intent with 31-run win, lead series 1-0
Adelaide, 10 December : India on Monday earned a hard-fought 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series after beating Australia by 31 runs in the opening cricket Test at the Adelaide Oval here.
This is the sixth Test win for India on Australian soil. Interestingly, this is the first time India have won the first Test match of a series in Australia.
Chasing a massive 323, Australia’s lower middle order gave a tough fight in their second innings against an inspired Indian bowling attack before being eventually bundled out for 291 just before tea on the final day.For the tourists, pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed three wickets apiece while veteran Ishant Sharma also took a wicket.
Earlier, resuming the day at 104/4, the hosts soon lost overnight batsman Travis Head (14) with the scoreboard ticking 115/5.
Head fell to a short pitched delivery from the experienced Ishant that resulted in a simple catch by Ajinkya Rahane at gully. The hosts still had a ray of hope with the other overnight batter Shaun Marsh (60) and captain Tim Paine (41) raising 41 runs for the sixth wicket before Bumrah packed away the former.
Bumrah jolted the Australians once again just at the stroke of lunch by getting Paine caught behind, leaving the hosts to the tail to achieve the target.
It was always going to be a tall ask for the tailenders to survive two full sessions but the Australians — Pat Cummins (28), Mitchell Starc (28), Nathan Lyon (38 not out) and Josh Hazlewood (13) — batted their skin out to reduce the deficit to only 31 runs.
Needing three wickets for an outright win, the Indian attack seemed to be on a mission as Shami started the post-lunch session with the wicket of Starc after the Aussie quick put on 59 runs for the eighth wicket with fellow pacer Cummins.
Starc’s departure brought in Lyon, who doubled his effort of getting six wickets in India’s second innings, with a solid 47-ball unbeaten 38 and more importantly being involved in two crucial stands.
Lyon first raised 31 runs for the 9th wicket with Cummins before adding another 32 runs for the final wicket with Hazlewood to leave the Indians frustrating before Ashwin managed to get Hazlewood caught by Lokesh Rahul to guide India to a fabulous victory.
India 250, 307 (Cheteshwar Pujara 71, Ajinkya Rahane 70; Nathan Lyon 6/1 22) beat Australia 235 and 291 (Shaun Marsh 60, Tim Paine 41; Mohammed Shami 3/65, Jasprit Bumrah 3/68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/92) by 31 runs.