Australia beat India by 48 runs in a thrilling end to the first Test at Adelaide Oval with Nathan Lyon picking up seven wickets after Virat Kohli scored an inspired century for the visitors.

A match that had begun in high emotion after the death last month of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes ended in high drama after an absorbing final day in South Australia.

Set 364 to win after Australia declared on their overnight score of 290-5, India seemed to be on their way to an unlikely victory after a brilliant 141 from Kohli and a gritty 99 from opener Murali Vijay.

But Lyon, a former groundsman at Adelaide Oval, turned the match the home team's way with his offspinners, as India's tail collapsed and the tourists were bowled out for 315.

Lyon finished with 7-152, giving him 12 wickets for the match, a career-best, and giving the Australians the early advantage in the four-match series, which resumes in Brisbane next week.

Kohli, in his first match as Indian captain, almost won the match single-handledly for his country. He scored centuries in both innings and dominated Australia's bowlers on a pitch favouring spin.

His career-best 141 came off just 175 deliveries and featured 16 fours and one six. He also shared a third wicket partnership of 185 with Vjay, who made half-centuries in each innings but fell agonisingly short of a deserved hundred.

With India seemingly in control at 242-2 after tea, Vijay suddenly had an attack of nerves and threw his wicket away with a rash attempt to reach triple figures, trapped lbw by Lyon after swiping at the ball.

His departure triggered a catastrophic batting collapse as India lost their last eight wickets for just 73 runs with Lyon the chief destroyer.

Scorecard:

Australia 517-7d & 290-5d

India 444 & 315

Source: Reuters