Sport Cricket First Test: India wins as Aussies fall just short in run chase

First Test: India wins as Aussies fall just short in run chase

India cricket
Virat Kohli's India celebrate their Test victory in Adelaide. Photos: Getty
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2nd session, Day 5 – India wins by 31 runs

India – 250, 307

Australia – 250, 291

Hazlewood – 13,  Lyon – 38

Josh Hazlewood’s stubborn resistance finally gave way late on Monday as India won the first Test in Adelaide.

Australia was all out in its second innings for 291, as India won the Test by 31 runs.

It’s the first Indian Test victory on Australian soil in 10 years, the last coming in 2008 at Perth.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was man of the match.

His two innings of 123 and 71 were clear standouts in a game in which batsmen rarely dominated the bowling.

Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant took a record-equalling 11 catches in the match.

Remarkably, there were 35 catches in the match, which is also a Test record.

Nathan Lyon’s efforts with bat and ball made him Australia’s outstanding player of the game. The South Australian off-spinner took eight wickets and made 56 runs in the match, including being unbeaten as the final wicket fell.

Lyon and Hazlewood put on 32 runs for the 10th wicket as they fought tooth and nail to get within sight of the victory target of 323.

The bowlers were left to find the runs for Australia.

The determined effort of Pat Cummins (28) kept Australian hopes alive as he and Mitch Starc put together a 41-run partnership that brought Australia’s runs required under 100.

Pant had a great opportunity to dismiss Lyon soon after but grassed a catch that would have left India one wicket away from taking the lead in the series.

Hopes of a famous run chase took a huge blow just after lunch on the final day of the first Test in Adelaide.

Captain Tim Paine (41) was out in the second over after the break, the victim of an ill-advised pull shot that presented the easiest of catches to Pant.

At the start of the day, Australia’s hopes of pulling off an unlikely victory fell on the shoulders of a Test rookie and a veteran staring down at his cricket mortality.

Travis Head and Shaun Marsh were Australia’s last recognised batsmen. They faced a day of hard graft and patient batting if they were going to guide their team towards a result on a pitch that offered plenty of encouragement for India’s spin bowlers.

Head was the standout batsman from Australia’s first innings, with a well-compiled 72. Marsh has had a horror run of recent Test scores (7-0-7-3-4-2) that read more like his phone number than his run aggregate.

It might have been too much to expect Head to be able to repeat his first innings effort, and so it proved.

The South Australian got cramped up by a rising Ishant Sharma delivery and failed to deal with it, popping up a simple catch to Ajinkya Rahane to be out for 14.

Marsh has the sensibility of a high-wire artist. Every time he seems set to tumble into a career abyss, he raises his vision and navigates the tightrope to live another day.

Eventually, he fell to a beautiful Jasprit Bumrah outswinger, which took the faintest edge, and was on his way for 60.

Immediately on arriving at the crease, Pat Cummins survived a claim for a catch at bat-pad.

Given out, the Australian paceman overturned the umpires’ call by calling on the Decision Review System as Australia battled to keep the game alive.

Cummins survived and Paine began to tick the scoreboard over as the victory target took shape on the horizon.

With Paine’s departure just after lunch, it felt as though the wickets might come quickly.

The resistance from Australia’s bowlers with the bat made Virat Kohli’s team work overtime to secure the victory.

For Paine’s team, it’s a long way back from this defeat.

The last time a team lost the first Test in Australia and went on to win the series was Len Hutton’s Englishmen in 1954-55.

Australia showed plenty of fight.

With just a few days until hostilities resume in Perth for the Second Test, they’ll need all that and more to turn things around.