Adelaide Test: India win by 31 runs, lead series 1-0

Adelaide: India thrashed Australia by 31 runs to clinch the opening Test of the four-match series here at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.

Ishant Sharma struck the first wicket in the morning session to bounce out Travis Head (14) for a simple catch at gully for Ajinkya Rahane. In spite of Head’s departure, Shaun Marsh continued ticking the scoreboard and notched up his 10th Test fifty from 146 balls. Soon after, Jasprit Bumrah produced a cracker of a delivery, which sent Marsh (60) back to the pavilion.

With the onus now on Australian skipper Tim Paine, he along with Pat Cummins kept defying the Indian bowling unit and maintained the fort for Australia with their unbeaten 40 runs and five runs respectively.

At lunch break, Australia scored 186 with the loss of six wickets and needed 137 runs more, while India were just four wickets away from their first ever win in an opening match of a Test series in Australia.

As the match resumed, a short delivery from Bumrah dismissed Paine, who attempted the pull but keeper Rishabh Pant comfortably caught his tenth catch of the format. Paine walked back for 41 runs.

Cummins along with Mitchell Starc seemed to be building a good partnership as they not only sustained their crucial wickets but also fought for the Australian scoreboard. The hosts reached 213 runs with the loss of seven wickets and required 110 more runs to win.

India breathed a sigh of relief as Mohammed Shami struck Mitchell Starc for 28 runs. On a well outside off stump, Starc attempted the drive on the up but got a thin outside edge behind to keeper Pant. India would have edged closer to victory had Pant caught Nathan Lyon’s catch. As Pant dove to his right, he failed to hold onto the ball and dropped Lyon on seven runs.

After frustrating the Indian bowlers for a quite some time, Cummins’ innings come to an end on 28 runs off 121 balls. Bumrah struck again as Cummins played a loose shot, which edged away and Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who was at first slip, caught the ninth Australian wicket. India were a wicket away from the big win.

The much-awaited moment arrived for India as Ashwin picked his first wicket of the day and the last Australian wicket. Just when Hazlewood (13) edged the ball, KL Rahul, who was at the slips, completed the brilliant catch and India sealed their first ever victory in an opening Test of a series on Australian soil.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who was adjudged man of the match, said, “I think playing here before has helped me a lot. I think what has helped me is the preparation. Ultimately, winning the Test match credit to all the bowlers. The first innings lead of 15 gave us the belief batting in the second innings.

I always back my ability and I’ve got enough experience. It means a lot, he’ll be a proud father. I’d like to thank him for all his support throughout my career.”

India, with a lead of 1-0, will lock horns against Australia in their second Test from December 14-18 at Perth.