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Well it is the new generation of Indian cricketers that we have in Virat Kohli. Despite being in a strong and safe position of ensuring a draw and take the series to the next Test, Virat Kohli chose to play with fire and the result was losing a secured Test match by 48 runs. Nevertheless, it was a never seen before display from an Indian Test team as it scared the Aussies with a dashing and daring approach.
Above photo: ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 13: Australian players celebrate the wicket of Virat Kohli dismissed by Nathan Lyon during day five of the First Test match between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 13, 2014 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
The match was well set on the final day as Michael Clarke as expected declaring his team’s second innings at the overnight total of 290 for 5 and thus leaving India 364 to win from 98 overs. It was by no means a target that was worth chasing as the Australian bowling had the world’s fastest bowler in Mitchell Johnson and the pitch having lots of rough to play with for Nathan Lyon.
India’s woes began early as Shikhar Dhawan was wrongly given out caught behind while trying to half-heartedly hook Mitchell Johnson in the 5th over. The ball flew off the shoulder to the keeper which the Umpire imagined to have come off the glove giving Shikhar Dhawan (9) his second failure of the match, of course at no fault of his.
Cheteshwar Pujara looked alright against the pacers but was never comfortable against Nathan Lyon. And tamely the no.3 Indian batsman nicked a top spinner from Nathan Lyon to the keeper after playing for the non-existent turn outside off. Pujara scored 21 in 38 balls and India were in trouble at 52 for 2 in the 20th over when Skipper Virat Kohli walked in.
Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli managed to see off the morning session taking India to 105 for 2 in 34 overs. The duo despite their poor understanding in running between the wickets looked solid at each other’s end and as a result not giving an inch to the Aussies. The tourists with that saw off the afternoon session safely while scoring runs at a fair clip as the Aussies were confident that they had enough runs in the bank. India had other plans though and by Tea, it was a solid foundation at 205 for 2 with both Vijay and Kohli in 80s and of course a false sense of security that the match can be easily saved.
Going into the final session, with 37 overs left, India needed 159 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand. First thing for both the batsmen was to get to their well deserved tons. Virat Kohli got their first, scoring a century in both the innings of a Test match for the very first time in his career. He became only the second player in the history to score twin centuries in a Test match on captaincy debut after Australia’s Greg Chappell. For the record, it was a 9th Test century for Virat Kohli which came in just 135 balls!
Above photo: Australia’s spin bowler Nathan Lyon (R) and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (L) shout a successful leg before wicket appeal against India’s Murali Vijay (C) on the final day of the first cricket Test match between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval on December 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN/Getty Images
At the other end though, Murali Vijay found himself extremely nervous. He was lucky not to be given out when he had padded up on the backfoot to a Nathan Lyon delivery. On 99, Murali Vijay nervously failed to connect his backfoot flick and was struck on the pad plumb in front by a flattish off break from Nathan Lyon. Nobody at this stage would have predicted that this was going to be the turning point of the match. Murali Vijay batted out 234 balls and he hit 10 fours and 2 sixes while putting on 185 for the 3rd wicket stand which lasted nearly 50 overs!
Nathan Lyon removed Murali Vijay in the first ball of the 70th over, and just five balls later he had the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane to open up the match for the Aussies. Rahane had a bad decision just like Shikhar Dhawan. Lunging forward in defence, Rahane was beaten by a jumping off break which flew off the pad to shortleg which the Umpire thought came off the glove. The next batsman Rohit Sharma looked extremely vulnerable at the crease as suggested by his body language. Rohit Sharma lasted only 18 balls before he made the mistake of lunging forward rather than negotiating a jumping off break from Lyon on the backfoot. Rohit gloved Nathan Lyon and a sharp catch was taken by David Warner at leg slip leaving India at 277 for 5 in the 78th over.
With just over 20 overs left to bat out, Wriddhiman Saha came in and started to play adventurously. A well struck six and a four from the little man off Nathan Lyon made everyone say wow but Wriddhiman Saha could not control his adrenalin! In spite of India already getting 15 off that Lyon over, Saha jumped out for a needless slog and lost his wicket getting bowled by the turning ball.
Above photo: India’s Virat Kohli (L) reacts after his dismissal during the final day of the first cricket test match between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval on December 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN / Getty Images
The match was gone with India having just four wickets in hand with 18 more overs left. Even at this stage, Skipper Virat Kohli seemed to be going for the run chase. A half tracker from Nathan Lyon saw Virat Kohli shaping up to pull it for a six but fate had him dragging it straight into the hands of Mitchell Marsh at deep mid wicket. Virat Kohli took ages to leave the park as he was totally shattered of losing his wicket. The Indian Captain scored one of the greatest ever Test knocks – 141 from just 175 balls with 16 fours and a six on the final day of a Test match! Kohli was in total control whether playing the threat of Nathan Lyon’s turning and jumping off breaks or whether seeing off the big reverse swinging deliveries.
India had 16.2 overs to bat through with just three wickets in hand. It needed a miracle from here to draw the Test although a bit of determination from the tail-enders could have made it possible. But Mohammed Shami took the slogging mode and perished after facing 10 balls, miscuing a big shot off Ryan Harris. Varun Aaron was lbw done in for pace by a Mitchell Johnson inswinger with the second new ball. Ishant Sharma was too dumb as he blindly jumped out of his crease in defence and got beaten by a turner from Nathan Lyon which had him stumped out. Karn Sharma who is an all-rounder at the first-class level showed some promise playing out 20 balls before he lost three of his partners.
The tourists were bowled out for 315 in 87.1 overs to lose the First Test by 48 runs. Nathan Lyon took 7 for 152 bowling 34.1 overs. With match figures of 12 for 286, Nathan Lyon earned the Man of the Match award ahead of twin centurions David Warner and Virat Kohli.
Above photo: ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 13: Michael Clarke of Australia leaves the ground with Alex Kountouris, Australian Team Physiotherapist, after he suffered an injury while fielding a ball during day five of the First Test match between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 13, 2014 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)