Chennai, Oct. 14: Anil Kumble believes this is a 'great opportunity for India to make a comeback in the series' after his seven-wicket haul sent the mighty Australians running for cover at the Chepauk today.
The smile was back on Sourav Ganguly's face by evening, but he is keeping his fingers crossed. 'There's a lot of cricket still left in this Test. Most importantly, we've got to bat well and a lot will depend on how the day unfolds tomorrow,' the Indian skipper said.
Not without reason the Rahul Dravids and the V.V.S. Laxmans batted at the nets well past dusk.
With Harbhajan Singh and the two pacers keeping up the pressure at one end, Kumble cut though the strong line-up, finishing with figures of 17.3-4-48-7. The visitors collapsed from 136 for no loss to 235 all out.
At close, India were 28 for the loss of Yuvraj Singh's wicket to Shane Warne, who equalled Muttiah Muralidharan's world record of 532.
'It's hugely satisfying to pick seven wickets, both personally and for the team. It was important to restrict them to below 250 and I'm glad we've been successful,' Kumble said.
'There was a fair amount of bounce in the wicket and all I had to do was put the ball in the right areas,' the leg-spinner explained.
'The other bowlers made my job a lot easier. Harbhajan had a great spell. He is an attacking bowler and with Irfan (Pathan) bowling well with the old ball after lunch, things began to fall in place.
'The ball was coming off from the hand nicely. I like to bowl on wickets that offer a bit of bounce. The fact that I kept getting wickets in almost every over towards the close also helped,' he said.
Kumble felt it was a 'great chance' for India to put up a big score. 'The second day at the Chepauk is usually good for batting.'
The alarming bounce and turn will, however, make life difficult for the batsmen as the match progresses.
Harbhajan removing both the openers was 'crucial', felt Kumble. 'That meant when I came on, I was bowling to two new batsmen, Simon Katich and Damien Martyn. The pressure always stayed and that came in handy.'
Bowling in tandem with Harbhajan has helped in his efforts. 'We form a great pair. It's easier if someone at the other end can be equally aggressive,' said Kumble.
Which of the wickets was the most satisfying' 'All,' he said, refusing to pick any one as special.
Despite reaching the 400-wicket milestone in Bangalore, Kumble did not get the opportunity to celebrate in his hometown. Perhaps this time here it will be different.