Steve O'Keefe thanked captain Steve Smith for retaining faith in him after recovering from what he called an "ordinary" start to return 12 wickets in Australia's thrashing of India in the first Test in Pune.
The left-arm spinner finished with match figures of 12-70 - the best by an Australian in India - after sealing identical 6-35 returns in both innings as Australia recorded a resounding 333-run win to end an 11-match winless run in Asia.
O'Keefe, who has faced scrutiny over his place in the Test team, picked up for the Man of the Match award for his stunning display but says it could have been a different story if the skipper had not stuck by him after a slow start to the first innings.
"It's a really good feeling, the first innings was a bit of a blur but as the wicket deteriorated, their spinners bowled well without luck, for me it skidded on more," he said.
"It's good to go 1-0 up. We know how hard it is over here and there's still a lot of work to do to win a series.
"As Steve said, and was reiterated by the coach [Darren Lehmann], my first six overs was pretty ordinary. I had to mix it up quickly, but he still backed me and gave me the ball, credit for that."
Lehmann was impressed by Australia's batting on a bowler-friendly pitch, with Smith playing a sublime captain's innings with a second-innings century.
However, he warned that Australia must continue to work hard to replicate their form in the second of four Tests in Bangalore.
"It was a great result, I'm really impressed with our batting," he said. "It's been a challenge for both sides.
"It will be a challenge to replicate that in Bangalore. We spoke about good defence and you take on the game when you can."