ADELAIDE, Australia (AFP) – Nathan Lyon bowled Australia to a gripping 48-run victory with Indian skipper Virat Kohli almost conjuring a come-from-behind win with a magnificent century in the first Adelaide Test on Saturday.
The off-spinner claimed seven wickets from India’s second innings as he spun the home side to a thrilling triumph after Australia set the tourists 364 runs for victory on a rollercoaster final day.
No team has scored more than 315 runs and won in Adelaide since 1902, but Kohli almost singlehandedly brought off an astonishing win with his second century of the match before he was caught on the boundary rope in the 82nd over.
While Kohli almost fashioned a victory in his first Test as India’s captain, it was the maligned Lyon who was Australia’s match-winner, snaring seven for 152 on the wearing Adelaide drop-in pitch.
Kohli with his 141 became the second Indian since Vijay Hazare to score two centuries in a Test at the Adelaide Oval since 1948.
But batting partner Murali Vijay, on 99, had no such luck and was cruelly out leg before wicket to Lyon three balls after Kohli raised his second century.
Vijay missed the ball and was trapped in front of his stumps to be given out by umpire Marais Erasmus.
He was crestfallen and needed Kohli to console him and send him on his way ending an 185-run stand for the third wicket which had given the tourists a chance of victory.
It was game on and under renewed pressure Ajinkya Rahane was out five balls later when he played forward and was given out caught by Chris Rogers at short leg, giving Lyon his second wicket of the over.
Suddenly, India had lost two wickets and were under pressure against the recharged Australian attack.
David Warner took a brilliant one-handed catch at leg slip to dismiss Rohit Sharma (6) and give Lyon his fourth wicket of the innings as the game continued to ebb and flow.
Wriddhiman Saha continued India’s run chase with a six and a sweep for four but he went for another big hit and was bowled by Lyon.
It brought up Lyon’s 10th match wicket for the first time in Tests.
Kohli’s majestic innings came to an end in the 82nd over with a marvellous catch by Mitchell Marsh on the boundary rope to end India’s last hope.
Kohli had pulled Lyon to Marsh with his eyes in the sun but he took the catch just off the ground. The Indian skipper was given a standing ovation as he left the field.
Mohammed Shami holed out to Mitchell Johnson for five off Harris and Johnson trapped Varun Aaron leg before wicket for one with the first delivery of the second new ball.
Lyon took the final wicket and his seventh of the innings with Ishant Sharma stumped by Brad Haddin in the 88th over.
Haddin took over the captaincy after Michael Clarke pulled up sharply while fielding with a right hamstring injury.
Clarke hobbled in pain from the ground amid fears he may miss the rest of the India series.
A team spokesperson said Clarke left the ground for scans to assess the injury. He appeared to have difficulty getting into the car that took him to the hospital.
Clarke suffered a recurrence of his long-term back injury while batting on Tuesday’s opening day which forced him to retire hurt.
He had injections to soothe spasms in his back and returned to the crease the next day to complete a century.
The Australians grabbed two wickets before lunch but were being resisted by Vijay and Kohli for almost 50 overs and gave their team hope of a memorable come-from-behind victory.
The Indians lost the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara in the extended morning session.
Dhawan appeared to get a bad call by umpire Ian Gould when he was given out caught behind off a Mitchell Johnson bouncer for nine in the day’s fifth over.