Virat Kohli, captain of India, speaks during the press conference following the first Test match against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Kelly Barnes/EPA

ADELAIDE – Virat Kohli said Monday it was “very special” to captain India to their first Test win in Australia for a decade and gave his side crucial momentum in their bid for a maiden series victory.

The visitors won a tightly-contested opening Test in Adelaide by 31 runs on the fifth day after setting Australia a target of 323, which would have been a record run chase at the ground.

It was a big breakthrough for Kohli's men, with their last triumph on Australian soil at the WACA Ground in Perth in 2008. In Adelaide, their sole previous win was 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. “And it's given us the right momentum that we needed to play a big series like this and it's something that we've had to work hard for.

“Any Test victory is special because you work hard over five days, and then the physical and the mental toil and the emotion of it all comes together in a result is a very special feeling.”

Kohli, who has long led India's batting charge with admirable consistency across all three formats but failed to fire in Adelaide, said he believed his team collectively were better than Australia and deserved to win.

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

Indian captain Virat Kohli (centre) reacts after India defeated Australia on day five of the first Test Match between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Dave Hunt/EPA
Indian captain Virat Kohli (centre) reacts after India defeated Australia on day five of the first Test Match between Australia and India at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: Dave Hunt/EPA

“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. “We always knew that runs on the board would make the home side tentative. Any lead was gold and we got 15. In the second innings again, he and Rahane batted well.”

Asked if thought 323 would be enough to win, Kohli said his middle and lower order could have done better after a 5-25 collapse at the end of the second innings.

“We could have added another 30-35 runs more which could have taken the game totally beyond Australia,” he said. 

“So these are things that we have to think about going to Perth, but if someone had told me before the series that I would be 1-0 up as soon we started the series, I would have taken it with both hands.”

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

Agence France-Presse (AFP)