India drew first blood in the four-match Test series as Virat Kohli-led side became the first Asian side, since 1979, to win the opening match of a Test series against Australia in Australia. India clinched a thriller on the final day in the extended second session of play by 31 runs at the Adelaide Oval.
Cheteshwar Pujara's calm and Ravichandran Ashwin's guile that was the difference. While most of the Indian batsmen were guilty of being over aggressive, Pujara showed the way with his resilience as he scored a brilliant 123 in the first innings with India tottering at 86/5. He again led the way in the second innings and brought stability by scoring 71 and was ably supported by Ajinkya Rahane.
R Ashwin too was brilliant throughout the Test. Often criticised for not performing overseas, Ashwin scythed through the Australian top-order in the first innings to make early inroads. He varied his pace really well and helped by the drift, he used the flight to good effect to pick up three wickets. He carried the momentum in the second innings and picked up three wickets again and it was fitting that he picked up the last wicket as India registered a win in first match of a Test series in Australia for the first time in 70 years.India also became the first Asian side to win Tests in South Africa, England and Australia in a calendar year.
A collective performance from the Indian bowlers on the final day helped visitors bowl Australia out for 291 and win the Adeliade Test by 31 runs, but only after a valiant resistance from the Australian lower-order. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami scalped three wickets each while Ishant Sharma took 1 and Ravichandran Ashwin took the final wicket (his third) of the humdinger to seal a historic win for India.
Resuming at 104/4 on the final day, Australia needed 219 runs to win with overnight batsmen Shaun Marsh and first innings hero Travis Head at the crease. But they suffered an early setback when Ishant bounced out Head with a snorter. Sharma bowled a short delivery which jumped off length and got big on Head who looked to fend it away but it hit the shoulder of the bat and popped up to Rahane at gully.
Marsh, who had shown great resolve, carried on to raise his fifty, which was his first of the year.Marsh got to the landmark with a four through mid-wicket off Ashwin.
Marsh joined by captain Tim Paine began rebuilding, as they added 41 runs for the sixth-wicket. However, like he has done in the past, it was Bumrah, who brought India the crucial breakthrough. He had Marsh caught behind for 66 with a lovely delivery.
Australia lost two wickets for 83 runs in the first session with Paine solid in the middle accompanied by Pat Cummins, who took 40 deliveries for his five runs. The duo had added 31 runs.
Just when it looked like another partnership that developed and started to frustrate India, Bumrah killed it. A rare lapse of concentration saw Paine (41) top edge a pull off Bumrah to hand Rishabh Pant his 10th catch, India's recording-equalling, of the match . It was a perfect start after lunch for India. But then Cummins, who looked defensively, started building another partnership with Mitchell Starc. The two frustrated the Indian bowlers as they added 41 runs for ninth wicket. But again, as was the case with most of the batsmen, a rash shot was always round the corner and Starc played one, only to edge a waft outside the off stump to the keeper.
Cummins again started stitching crucial stand with Nathan Lyon which elicited a glimmer of hope but the crisis man – Bumrah – struck again to send back Cummins (28) caught at first slip.
Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara (71) and Ajinkya Rahane (70) had helped India set a target of 323 for the Australians who had given away a lead of 16 runs in the first innings. Nathan Lyon was their stand out bowler in the second innings and single-handedly kept them in the match with figures of 6/22.
Even Paine conceded in his post-match address hailing Pujara, who won the Player of the Match, as the 'difference between the two sides'.
The action now moves on to Perth where the second Test starts from 14 December.