It was edge-of-your-seat stuff but Indian coach Ravi Shastri had a different way of explaining his team's nerves as it sweated out a dramatic final day in Adelaide.

India started the day needing six wickets to secure a historic first opening Test win on Australian soil while the hosts required 219 more runs for an unlikely victory. The early wicket of Travis Head and getting rid of Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine with the Aussies still more than 130 runs in arrears should have made it an easy finish for the visitors.

But Australia's tail kept wagging as Pat Cummins (28), Mitchell Starc (28), Nathan Lyon (38 not out) and Josh Hazlewood (13) gave fans hope they might achieve the impossible.

Ravi Ashwin took the final wicket to give India a 31-run lead but it all got a little too close for comfort for Shastri. Giving a live TV interview in Hindi after the match, the former Test star reportedly said: "We will not spare them at all but we had b***s in our mouth for a short time there."

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Shastri was talking to ex-players Sunil Gavaskar, Michael Clarke and Mark Butcher on Indian TV but Indian legend Gavaskar refused to translate the expression for his English-speaking colleagues because the broadcast was being watched by families.

Social media couldn't believe Shastri would make such a statement. Some found it funny while others criticised the cricket great, and news sites across India wrote up stories on the 56-year-old's jaw-dropping one-liner.

The Times of India called it a "tongue-in-cheek comment", India Today called it "boorish" and the Hindustan Times refused to repeat Shastri's quote in print, saying: "In a studio chat with former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, Shastri said in Hindi that he had, well, a certain part of his anatomy 'in his mouth' as the match moved towards a close finish. No, not the heart."