India overcame a spirited defiance from Australia to clinch a narrow, thrilling victory on the final day at Adelaide. A last-wicket stand worth 32 between Nathan Lyon (38*) and Josh Hazlewood took Australia within 32 runs of victory before the latter was dismissed by R Ashwin to help India go 1-0 up in the series in dramatic fashion.
Australia made a fist of a stiff chase with a string of useful lower-order stands worth 41, 31, 41, 31 and 32 as they made India work hard for the victory. Three of these partnerships were ended by Bumrah including that of top-scorer Shaun Marsh for 60.
Marsh had led Australia’s resistance with a patient knock in the first session as he put on 41 with skipper Tim Paine and led the charge against R Ashwin’s off-spin. By playing him confidently, forward and back, Marsh dented India’s plans of dictating terms with spin. He soon got to his first fourth innings fifty in Test cricket and his partnership with Paine, coming after Travis Head was prised out early by an Ishant snorter, kickstarted Australia’s defiance through the day.
However, Bumrah coming in for his first spell of the day had the better of him from a round-the-wicket line, repeatedly challenging him in the channel outside off and eventually getting him caught behind.
The next batsman in, Pat Cummins, survived nervous moments against R Ashwin’s big off breaks from the rough. He had two TV reviews going in his favour – the first a caught behind appeal taken by India and the second his own. Given out caught at short leg, Cummins reviewed and was vindicated as replays confirmed that the ball had come off his forearm.
Together with a busy Paine (40), Cummins survived and pursued the fight. But Bumrah, soon after Lunch, had Australia’s captain top-edging a pull. Mitchell Starc, who followed that wicket, played in typically brisk fashion even as Cummins held fort at the other end. That stand was ended when Starc played one drive too many and edged Shami behind to give Rishabh Pant his 11th dismissal of the match.
Wickets though continued to come at a premium for India, with Lyon being put down by Pant, and Ashwin not able to extract enough pace off the pitch along with his turn. It was Bumrah once again who managed to induce an outside edge to end Cummins’ 121-ball stay with Australia still 64 away.
But Lyon, along with Hazlewood, stretched and rode their luck in a last-wicket stand that had India sweating for a while before KL Rahul took a low catch to bring the Test to a dramatic end after a 68-ball resistance
It gave India their first victory in an opening Test in Australia and first since 2007-08.
Brief scores: India 250 and 307 (KL Rahul 44, Cheteshwar Pujara 71, Ajinkya Rahane 70; Nathan Lyon 6-122) beat Australia 235 and 291 (Shaun Marsh 60, Tim Paine 41, Nathan Lyon 38*; Mohammed Shami 3-65, R Ashwin 3-92, J Bumrah 3-68) by 31 runs