A Christmas present of a pitch for batsmen and the prospect of hard labour in the heat for bowlers, both fast and slow, is so often the situation in Adelaide for the December test and this one appeared no different.
Over five hundred runs for Australia and India heading for much the same total at the end of day three, the prospect of a draw looked likely and many who want to see an even contest between bat and ball must have been cursing the pitch, especially home fans who wanted to see Mitchell Johnson and company causing the Indians discomfort on an unfamiliar surface.
However, a late slump in the Indian first innings, the spin of Nathan Lyons prominent, meant that the faint possibility of a result opened up on day four. Needing 364 on the final day on a pitch still good for batting, this was not the India of old playing away from home. Throughout the game they fought hard and led by stand-in captain Virat Kohli who combined in a superb stand of 185 with Murali Vijay, at 242-2 India was in with a real chance of a remarkable victory.
Once that partnership was broken and two wickets fell quickly, the most likely result was a draw but both Kohli and the Australian stand-in captain Brad Haddin remained positive and what might have been a very tame ending became a riveting final hour when Nathan Lyon, for the first time, bowled Australia to victory. The approach of these two leaders, Kohli and Haddin, was crucial in providing spectators and viewers with a really good test match and an outstanding final day. Even after the dismissal of Kohli, the Indians continued to push for victory and Haddin’s attacking mindset was obvious in his field settings and bowling changes.
A batsman on either side with a century in each innings, yet a well deserved man of the match award for Lyon. As so often before, despite its benign wicket, Adelaide has given us a magical start to this series.