(CNN) -- Venkatsai Laxman steered India to a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the first Test in Mohali on Tuesday.
Chasing 216 to win, the home side slumped to 124 for eight wickets until Laxman, batting with a runner because of a back injury, took the game by the scruff of the neck.
He shared an 81-run stand for the ninth wicket with tailender Ishant Sharma, who made 31 before being trapped leg before wicket by Ben Hilfenhaus.
With 11 still needed, Laxman was joined by last-man Pragyan Ojha and they got India home in a nailbiting finish.
Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson bowled the final over of the match and had a confident leg before wicket appeal against Ojha turned down before substitute fielder Steven Smith conceded four runs with an overthrow.
The winning runs then came off two leg-byes to give India a 1-0 lead in a two-match series.
Aussie captain Ricky Ponting was proud of the part his team had played in an epic match.
"It was one of the most exciting Test matches I have played. Full credit to India. We tried our best and it was a satisfying effort from the boys," he told AFP.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni paid tribute to Laxman for his instrumental role in their triumph.
"Laxman is a remarkable batsman and whatever field you set, he keeps scoring. He did a very good job for us. For me, it was a very special innings. This game was full of emotions.
"When the game started no one expected we will have a result in four-and-a-half days. The bowlers from both sides have done well to get a result in this game."
Earlier, Australia's Doug Bollinger took two wickets before lunch to keep alive their hopes of victory, including the prize dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar (38) for the second time in the match.
But he picked up an injury and did not bowl after lunch. Hilfenhaus also bowled superbly to pick up 4-57 but Laxman, who averages over 50 against Australia in Test matches, proved the difference as he finished unbeaten on 73.
The second and final Test starts in Bangalore on October 9.