Kumble bundles Australia out for 235
India 28 for 1 trail Australia 235 (Langer 71, Hayden 58, Kumble 7-48) by 207 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How does a team like Australia go from 136 for no loss to 235 all out in the space of fewer than 40 overs? Anil Kumble's scything spell - 17.3-4-48-7 - had much to do with it, as did a first-day Chennai pitch with bounce in it, and the tendency of Australia's batsmen to defend forward with hard hands. India pulled off a stunning turnaround after Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer got off to a fine start, and only the fall of Yuvraj Singh before trhe close spoiled a perfect day for the home side.
The pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore came in for a lot of criticism before the start of the first Test: John Buchannan, Australia's coach, went as far as calling it "terrible". But as Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh showed as late as the fifth day, it was fine for batting: Dean Jones called it a "lamb in wolf's clothing". The Chennai pitch was exactly the opposite.
The ball came onto the bat nicely in the first session, and in the absence of movement in the air and off the pitch, the old firm of Hayden and Langer took full toll. Irfan Pathan relied heavily on swing, and did his best to keep a tight line and length, but was not able to break through. Zaheer Khan also rapped the pad more than once, but was never close enough to convince the umpires.
When Hayden lifted Harbhajan Singh over the long-on fence to bring up his fifty and the team hundred, in less than 23 overs, it seemed to be one of those days for India. The scoreboard galloped along and Langer, scratchy at first, found his feet and reached a half-century of his own. Job well done, they walked off for lunch with 111 for 0.
In the period after lunch, the balance between bat and ball began to shift. There were the first hints of reverse-swing, and Harbhajan began to get the ball to bounce sharply when he gave it a rip and tossed it up. In the first three balls of the 34th over, he sent the openers packing. Hayden (58) holed out to long-off, after Ganguly choked the run-flow, and Langer (71) edged to slip. All of a sudden, 136 for 0 was 136 for 2, and the Indians were pumped up.
Harbhajan's performance gave the team the lift it so desperately needed, and then Kumble got stuck in. Spearing in those fizzing legbreaks, googlies and top-spinners, Kumble made the batsmen play, and prised out Damien Martyn (26), who lunged forward and presented short leg with a catch (189 for 3). Simon Katich and Martyn had put on 63 for the third wicket.
From then on, it was Kumble all the way as Australia's batsmen failed to come to terms with the extra bounce in this pitch. Katich plugged away, nudging and deflecting the ball around for safe runs. At the other end, though, Kumble did not give anyone a chance to settle down. None of the last seven batsmen managed more than 5, and Kumble had found the success of old.
Darren Lehmann, a canny if unorthodox player of spin, chopped hard at a short one before he'd scored, and feathered a nick to Parthiv Patel, who had had a horrid day behind the stumps till that point, fluffing simple collections (191 for 4). Michael Clarke, fresh from a cracking 151 in the first Test, was trapped in front by a pacy Kumble slider that would have knocked the leg stump over (204 for 5).
Adam Gilchrist (3) then became the first of three Australians to walk without waiting for the umpire's decision, after he popped a catch to short leg (210 for 6). Shane Warne lobbed a simple return catch (216 for 7) and Kumble, with five wickets, had gone past Curtly Ambrose's tally of 406 Test wickets. But he was not quite done for the day.
Jason Gillespie was caught by Mohammad Kaif at short leg via bat and pad and was quick to shuffle off the pitch and back to the dressing-room. Then came a hairy moment for David Shepherd, the umpire standing at the Wallajah Road end, the one from which all wickets fell in the innings. Michael Kasprowicz edged Kumble to silly mid-off, but Shepherd turned the appeal down, only to see the batsman walking off (228 for 9). Glenn McGrath, rarely a batsman to hold up the opposition, ran himself out, leaving Australia all out for 235 and Katich stranded on 36 not out.
Kumble's incisive spell, in which he picked up 7 for 25 from 10 overs, ensured that India were right on top. And the luck was still with them when they started batting: Yuvraj, opening the batting for the first time in Tests, edged the sixth ball he faced, off McGrath, to Clarke at second slip, and watched in surprise as the catch was floored. But he did not capitalise on the let-off, and inside-edged Warne through to Gilchrist when he attempted a booming drive. Warne, jumping for joy, had caught up with Muttiah Muralitharan as the world's highest Test wicket-taker, with 532 scalps.
Nevertheless Virender Sehwag, who racked up 2000 runs in Tests, and the nightwatchman Pathan took India through to the close at 28 for 1, 207 runs behind Australia.
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.