Australia beat India by 48 runs in a thrilling end to the first Test at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, with Nathan Lyon picking up seven wickets after Virat Kohli scored an inspired century for the visitors.
As it happened…
Emotionally-charged from the start following the death of Phillip Hughes, the first Test between Australia and India didn’t disappoint at the finish. And to add drama to the day, Australia captain Michael Clarke said yet another hamstring injury might mean he’ll have to end his career.
Spinner Nathan Lyon took seven second-innings wickets and 12 for the match as Australia pulled off a stunning 48-run win at the Adelaide Oval.
India looked set to achieve a record fourth-innings run chase after stand-in captain Virat Kohli (141) and opener Murali Vijay (99) led India through a second session without loss. Thousands of Indian fans were on their feet over the final two hours of the match as the side pushed for victory.
But Australia took eight wickets in the final session, the match ended by Lyon on a stumping, prompting emotional celebrations by an Australia team playing its first match since the death of teammate Hughes two weeks ago in a domestic match after being hit by a short-pitched delivery.
Needing 364 runs for victory from 98 overs on the final day, India was 105-2 at lunch and 205-2 at tea. The 159 further runs required in the final session was a temptingly achievable target for India’s batsmen, who kept playing their shots in pursuing a record run chase, rather than trying to grind out a draw.
The highest victorious fourth-innings Test total at the Adelaide Oval remains Australia’s 315-6 against England in 1902, while Australia-India Tests continue to go in favor of home teams, having now won 12 in a row.
“The boys deserve a lot of credit to keep trying to win the game,” said Clarke. “They were willing to lose to win. I thought if India were good enough to make 360, credit to them. But credit to our boys, and our bowlers.”
Clarke wasn’t being optimistic after the match about his most recent injury.
“The scans are not great, they have certainly showed a tear there,” Clarke said. “The experts are looking at them and I can pretty confidently say that I won’t take part in this Test series.
“There’s a chance I may never play again. I hope that’s not the case and I’ll be doing everything in my power to get back out on the park, but I have to be realistic as well.”
Kohli produced a superb performance to score his second century of the match, and his departure – caught at deep midwicket as the seventh wicket to fall – proved the decisive blow for Australia, which quickly dismissed the remaining batsmen.
“I told the guys last night that whatever target it was we were going to chase it. I believed in my ability,” Kohli said.
“If me and Vijay added about 40 runs there, the game would have been different. You see one opening and the team capitalizes, and that’s what Australia did.”
The match began Tuesday with tributes to Hughes, the Australian players wearing “408” on their shirts – Hughes’ Test cap number – and a 63-second standing ovation and applause was held in honor of the 63 runs Hughes scored on Nov. 25 before taking the fatal blow.
Lyon, a former member of the Adelaide Oval ground staff early in his career, finished with match figures of 12-286 against an India side expert at playing off-spin bowling.
“I just had to keep asking question and lucky enough some went my way,” Lyon of the many lbw appeals that the umpires turned down Saturday.” It was Test cricket, always twists and turns and we just had to hang in there.”
After the match, Cricket Australia said Shaun Marsh had been added to the squad for the Brisbane Test, replacing Clarke, while paceman Mitchell Starc was also called into the squad. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin will likely be Australia captain for the second Test.