Opening Test win 'special' for Kohli

ADELAIDE • Virat Kohli declared yesterday that it had been "very special" to captain India to their first Test win in Australia for a decade, giving his side crucial momentum in their bid for a maiden series victory Down Under.

The visitors won a tightly-contested opening match by 31 runs - just their sixth victory in 70 years on Australian soil - on the fifth day after setting the home team a target of 323, which would have been a record-run chase at the Adelaide Oval.

It was a big breakthrough for Kohli's men, with their last triumph on Australian soil at the Waca Ground in Perth in 2008, while their sole previous win in Adelaide came in 2003.

"Obviously, it's a great feeling. We've never taken a lead in a series in Australia, something that for us is a huge boost," he said. "It's given us the right momentum we needed to play a big series like this and it's something we've worked hard for."

Kohli, who has long led India's batting charge with admirable consistency across all three formats but failed to fire in Adelaide with scores of 3 and 34 runs, felt his team collectively were better and deserved to win.

The victory was built on Man-of-the-Match Cheteshwar Pujara's first-innings 123 and his second-innings 71, while wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant took a world record-equalling 11 catches.

"It was priceless from Pujara, we were down and out at lunch on day one. His grit and determination brought us back in it," said Kohli.

The second Test starts on Friday in Perth, with Melbourne and Sydney to follow.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Opening Test win 'special' for Kohli'. Print Edition | Subscribe