Virat Kohli heroics in vain as Australia beat India

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Australia survived a magical 141 from Virat Kohli to win the first Test against India in Adelaide by 48 runs.

After Australia declared overnight with a lead of 363, India threatened to record a stunning victory, with Kohli striking his second century of the match and Murali Vijay hitting a determined 99.

Lyon roars

But, a Nathan Lyon-inspired effort saw the Australians take eight wickets in the final session as India collapsed, with the hosts moving 1-0 ahead in the four-match series.

The aggressive declaration gave India a tempting target to chase, requiring 364 from a minimum of 98 overs. However, the early dismissals of Shikhar Dhawan - who was unfortunate to be given out after a Mitchell Johnson bouncer clipped his shoulder - and Cheteshwar Pujara left them in a precarious position at 57-2. 

Vijay and Kohli steadied the ship to guide India to 105-2 at lunch playing in contrasting manners - Vijay adopting a sedate style while Kohli looked to score freely. It was in the afternoon session when the thought of a victory became possible, as they accumulated steadily without further losses.

Registering a century partnership courtesy of both players passing 50, India chipped away at the target, making light work of a tricky final day pitch.

Australia were soon dealt another blow, with captain Michael Clarke forced to leave the ground after contracting a hamstring injury while fielding. Sent to the hospital for scans, it is unclear whether he will be available for the second Test match in Brisbane, starting on December 17.

As the partnership blossomed, the bowlers effectiveness lessened. It was a typical Test wicket that proved easier to bat on, the longer you spent at the crease. While Lyon bowled well - and was at times unfortunate - his impact was largely blunted throughout the afternoon, leading Australia to become increasingly frustrated on a swelteringly hot day.

Frustrations forgotten

Exactly 100 runs came for no damage in the second session, setting a target of 159 in the final 37 overs of the match. And, if there was any doubts whether India would go for the win, they were soon quelled as Vijay smashed a six over long-on to close in on his century, followed closely by Kohli.

In a rare occurrence, both spent a period on 99 before Kohli reached the landmark, pinching a single into the offside. He was not to be joined by an increasingly nervous Vijay, who was finally trapped lbw, to give Lyon his second wicket, and Australia a foothold. The crowd awakened, Ajinkya Rahane lasted only five deliveries, poorly given out caught despite never making contact with the ball.

At 242-4, India were at a crossroads. 122 needed from 29 overs. Would they persist for the win, or shut up shop and try to bat out for a draw? It was soon clear how a Test side led permanently by Kohli would approach the game. Unfurling a creamy drive through the covers, followed by a swat square of the wicket, the captain resumed his rivalry with Johnson, to bring India within 100.

Panic stations

But while Kohli played serenely, those with him panicked. A looped up edge found David Warner at leg-slip, and an unnecessary charge from Wriddhiman Saha, earned Lyon his a richly deserved 10th wicket of the match, as Australia moved within four.

Still India's quest for triumph continued. Another Kohli-powered shot through the leg-side added four more to the total, but a brain freeze on the very next ball picked out Mitchell Marsh at deep mid-wicket. A devastated Kohli trudged off the field, but one of the great fourth-inning efforts had almost wrenched the win.

Becoming the first overseas player to hit two hundreds in a Test match in Australia for over 50 years, the 26-year-old showed he is more than capable of the demands of Test captaincy, producing his best performance so far in the five-day game.


Kohli's dismissal brought with it the end of India's chances, as they succumbed with the final three wickets adding only a further 11 runs. Johnson and Ryan Harris snared one each with the new ball, before Lyon fittingly wrapped up the contest with Ishant Sharma's wicket - his 12th of the match. 

Australia's willingness to stick in eventually paid dividends, finally breaking the back of a valiant Indian innings. Nathan Lyon proved his credentials as a leading spinner, anchoring the bowling effort - sending down 34 of the 87 overs bowled. India also sent warning of the danger they will pose for the rest of the series, in a performance alien to what they have produced in recent years abroad.

In honour of Hughes

It was a match cricket needed. The death of Phillip Hughes has shook the sport like nothing other. A gripping victory in the dying overs of the fifth day, in front of an ever-increasing crowd. There was no doubt, this one was for Hughesy.

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India cricket
Michael Clarke
Australia cricket
David Warner
Virat Kohli

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