With already having a lead of 166 runs on the board, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane resumed the Indian innings on Day 4 with Mitchell Starc opening the proceedings for Australia. All Australia wanted to come back into the match was early wickets that could have restricted India to a lead of 220–250 runs. But, Pujara and Rahane had other plans. They steadied the Indian innings with a match-winning partnership of 87 runs, that certainly took the match away from the grasps of the Baggy Greens.
The fourth-wicket partnership was eventually broken by Nathan Lyon who rattled Pujara with an extra bounce that Finch caught at ease in forward short leg. Pujara meanwhile had completed his 20th career half-century eventually making 71 runs before being dismissed. Soon, Rohit was also sent packing his bags home by Lyon. Meanwhile the Indian vice-captain reached to his fifty as Rishabh Pant joined the Mumbai man and took India to 260 for the loss of five wickets with a lead of 275 runs.
After lunch, Pant came all guns blazing and hit three boundaries and a six to Lyon on consecutive deliveries. But his attacking instincts led to his downfall as Lyon yet again got the better of Pant dismissing him for 28 runs. A flurry of wickets fell after the new ball was taken as Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahane, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma all departed in quick succession with Lyon picking up 6 wickets in the innings. Rahane scored 70 vital runs as India went on to lose their last five wickets for a mere 25 runs and thus blowing away a chance to gain a healthy lead. Australia were asked to make 323 runs to win that could have been the highest fourth innings chase ever in Adelaide Oval.
Openers Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris kickstarted the Aussie chase but soon Finch was dismissed by Ashwin caught behind to Pant as tea was taken for the day. The Aussie score at this juncture read 28 for the loss of 1 wicket in 12 overs with 295 runs still to be made.
Usman Khawaja joined Harris for the post-tea session but soon the opener was dismissed to Shami having edged that was comfortably caught by Pant yet again, taking his tally to eight catches this match. Ashwin and Shami soon dismissed Khawaja and Peter Handscomb respectively to reduce the Kangaroos to 84 for 4. Travis Head joined Shaun Marsh in the crease and took the Aussies to 104 for the loss of 4 wickets at the end of the day’s play.
Resuming the final day of play, Ashwin started the proceedings for the Men in Blue to the overnight pair of Head and Marsh. Some resistance was hoped by the Aussie batsmen, but Ishant had Head caught to Rahane that reduced the Kangaroos to 115 runs for the loss of 5 wickets. Captain Tim Paine joined Marsh and both stitched a partnership of 41 runs until Marsh was dismissed by Bumrah after scoring 60.
Australia at this stage were reeling at 156 for 6 needing 167 more to win. India were expected to diminish Australia soon but the Australian lower-order showed resilience and tested the Indians for the last four wickets. A 31-run partnership between Tim Paine and Pat Cummins tested the Indian bowlers, however Bumrah sent back the Australian captain, who scored 41 valuable runs, to the pavilion.
Mitchell Starc who joined Cummins in the middle, together added 41 valuable runs to the Australian score before he lost his patience and was dismissed trying to play an uppish-drive to a wide delivery from Shami, thus getting caught behind to Rishabh Pant. Australia still needed 95 runs at this stage to win the match with two wickets in hand.
Nathan Lyon joined Cummins in the crease and displayed his batting prowess by playing a gem of an innings, thus enabling the Kangaroos to inch closer to the target. He added 31 vital runs along with Cummins before Bumrah got the better of Cummins. The Aussie scoreboard read 259 for 9 at this stage, with them needing 64 more runs to make a record win. The final pair of Lyon and Josh Hazlewood almost made it through as they added 32 more runs for the final wicket before Ashwin got Josh caught to Rahul at second slip. The Indians twirled with joy as this was their only sixth test victory in the Australian Islands.
The Indians won the match by 31 runs and created history by becoming the only Indian team to have defeated the Aussies at their own den in the first test match. Cheteshwar Pujara for his resilient and gritty knock of 123 in the first innings and 71 in the second innings was chosen to be the player of the match.
It is now to be seen whether the Kangaroos can come back in the series or whether the Indians dominate the home team at their own backyard when the second test starts at the new stadium in Perth on the 14th of December. What do you feel? Can Australia bounce back or will the Indians trounce them yet again?