| Marcus North after reaching his century, on Sunday.
Bangalore: Its not exactly identical, but the final Tests script is unfolding on much the same lines as Mohali. Till stumps on Day II, at least.
The one major difference, of course, is Australia having scored 50 more (478) in their first innings, at the Chinnaswamy. India would not mind as long as the two-match Airtel series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy ends in their favour.
If the honours were more or less shared on the opening day, Sunday saw Australia dominate, except in the last 90-odd minutes. Play again went beyond the scheduled close and four deliveries were left when the umpires called off the action.
That Billy Bowden and Ian Gould extended play till 4.56 pm, by when the light had fallen appreciably, left Sachin Tendulkar (44 not out) and Murali Vijay (42 not out) shocked.
We werent surprised when play did get called off, we were shocked... The light had become so bad that we werent able to spot some of the balls bowled by the spinners, Vijay said.
Basically, India (128 for two) could have lost another wicket and that would have been disastrous, as Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid were already back in the pavilion.
Both, by the way, fell to traps laid by Ricky Ponting, who has had an excellent Test.
After a typically rousing start, Sehwag succumbed to a bouncer, while Dravid, who may not again play for India on his home ground, perished to another left-armer Mitchell Johnson, this time. Yet again, he played away from the body.
For all his achievements, and this is strange, Dravids highest in a Test here is 60! Fit for a believe it or not series in sport.
Sehwag and Dravid disappointed the near-capacity turnout, but Sachin did not. In the process, he went past 14,000 runs in Tests, a landmark applauded even by the visitors, who would be only too happy to quickly see his back.
Much, though, remains to be done and the first two sessions on Monday are going to be crucial with a capital C. It rained for a couple of hours late in the evening and, so, an intervention by the elements cant be ruled out.
The wicket, in Vijays opinion, has become dual-paced and is deteriorating fast. Centurion Marcus North, however, had a different take.
Earlier, courtesy North and gloveman Tim Paine, Australia added as many as 193 to their overnight 285 for five, the innings ending almost at the stroke of tea.
North broke a sequence of poor scores and is as good as assured of a place in the Ashes-opener, at the Gabba, next month. His career-best 128, a quality effort, came in 335 minutes (240 deliveries, 17x4, 1x6).
This was a great opportunity for me and I built on the start I got yesterday (Saturday)... I came through under a lot of pressure... Its nice to have contributed and I try to enjoy every match, North, who made his debut when he was just months away from turning 30, last year, pointed out.
Paine, who featured in a no-ball dismissal and was asked by Gould to stop walking towards the dressing room till third umpire Amish Saheba had been consulted, contributed 59 (181 minutes, 133 deliveries, 8x4).
Sreesanth was left despairing. Eventually, Paine became a Pragyan Ojha victim.
According to The Telegraphs sources, regular keeper Brad Haddin, who recently underwent surgery, isnt assured of an automatic return. Paine had a solid 92 in the first innings in Mohali as well.
If anything, his CV has got very impressive.
The North-Paine partnership actually proved to be a pain for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as the pair put on 149 for the sixth wicket. Paine did have a let off, but that was shortly before he got out to a brilliant stumping.
North fell trying to slog-sweep. His dismissal (458 for eight) hastened the end of the Australia innings.
Harbhajan Singh got the most wickets (four), followed by Ojha (three).