Chennai: Adam Gilchrist may try to hide his disappointment as a 'learning experience,' but the fact is Anil Kumble has put the visitors under enormous pressure. The leg-spinner's seven-wicket haul is sure to inspire the Indian batsmen, and unless there's a huge turnaround, Chepauk may once again prove to be disappointing for Australia.
The Australians will not forget this opening day in a hurry. First came the news of Ricky Ponting's unavailability in the Nagpur Test as well and then the dramatic collapse. Adam Gilchrist and Co. will be left searching for answers for long after this series gets over.
The visitors seem to have undone all their good work in Bangalore through an hour-and-a-half's unprofessional (and uncharacteristic) approach at the Chepauk. They lost all their wickets for 99 runs after stand of 136 between Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden.
Gilchrist described Kumble's spell as 'devastating' while finding it tough to explain the collapse. 'It's a case of one team getting the momentum and dominating. Both Harbhajan (Singh) and Kumble bowled fantastic after lunch. When you're facing the first 10-15 balls with five men around, it proves to be crucial' And the lower half didn't get through that,' the stand-in captain observed.
As Sourav's luck' with the toss continued ' the Indian captain has now called incorrectly in six out of nine meetings with the world champions ' and the Aussie openers went about their job in clinical fashion, it seemed they were determined to bat the first two days of the Test.
Langer survived early off Zaheer Khan when Parthiv Patel and Rahul Dravid failed to react to a sharp snick. Hayden, not bothered by the early Langer flutter, took his time to settle down.
The openers were very rarely troubled by Zaheer and Irfan Pathan in the first session and it was only after Harbhajan was introduced in the 10th over that the Aussie discomfort began to show ' the disconcerting bounce often taking the batsmen by surprise.
But one had to wait for the post-lunch session for the drama to unfold. Pathan got the ball to reverse-swing and with Harbhajan making runs hard to come by, the Aussie openers showed signs of restlessness.
First went Hayden (58 off 91 balls, 6x4, 2x6), holing out to long-off. A ball later, Langer (71 off 113 balls, 8x4) perished. Simon Katich ' the most enterprising batsman with his use of the feet against the spinners ' and Damien Martyn tried to stem the rot but once Kumble took charge, it was all over for the Australians. The leg-spinner had found the success of old as his second spell read 13.3-3-34-7. The last seven batsmen failed to reach double figures.
'The focus is all on the spinners, but it was the pacers who made it very difficult for us to get going. A bigger total was there for the taking but we succumbed to the pressure,' Gilchrist admitted.
'The bounce in the wicket was expected but we didn't handle it well today. I knew the momentum swings so fast in subcontinent conditions. Indians definitely have the edge now.'
Kumble's 25th five-wicket haul overshadowed the disappointment of some dropped (close-in) catches and Patel's unimpressive showing. But on such bouncy and turning tracks, some of the snicks are bound to go astray.
The choice of Yuvraj as opener didn't click as he survived once before falling to Glenn McGrath. It meant Shane Warne equalling Muttiah Muralidharan's world record a second time. The leg-spinner has a demanding job ahead of him if Australia are to harbour hopes of keeping their lead intact.