Australian cricketers have been travelling to India for over 80 years now, the last 60 of those for Tests. They also come here for ODIs, world tournaments and Indian leagues. They send under-age and A-teams here, they develop and work on their game here, and hire local coaches to prepare for it all. They know exactly what Indian cricket will be like before they get here. This isn't their first time.

But when they get here, you hear it straightaway. Murmurs, eyebrows are raised, eyes are rolled, heads are tilted, elbows are nudged. Have you seen the pitch? Well, you should, go check it out. It looks like a day-eight pitch now, it's overcooked; it's drier than a papadum, it's gonna rag, explode, combust and devour.

And then the spinner comes on, second over, Virat Kohli in peak trolling mode. That's it; this is all over, we're naked and alone in this fiery spinning pit of hell, and nothing can save us. Except, David Warner and Matt Renshaw bat well. Warner waits for bad balls like an England opening batsman of the 1960s. Renshaw refuses to try and score on one entire half of the field. The pitch is spinning every bit as much as they always thought it would, but they are handling it, building a platform, playing quality cricket.

But then Warner falls. He could have had a straighter bat and, had he wanted to, could have left the ball entirely or committed more to the attacking or even the defending stroke. Warner was playing Umesh Yadav, a bowler who Kohli had almost forgotten was on the ground, when he was well-set, and he had done all the hard work, so the fact the pitch didn't contribute was just a savage, elaborate practical joke.

And then Shaun Marsh is out - that damn pitch, satan's sub-continental spawn, is quiet again as Marsh has just not quite perfected his sweep shot and is a bit unlucky.

But what about Peter Handscomb? After the spinning savagery, the ripping, ragging revolutions, he gets a straight skidding one that traps him straight in front. Yes, it is finally here, the weaponised pitch of doom. Handscomb might have been back, and Jadeja might be the sort of bowler most likely to skip one through, but this is it.

And that almost makes sense as to why Steven Smith - having come down the track so many times and having played no real shots in anger or otherwise - comes down the pitch the over after Handscomb is out, done in by the pitch and its effect on his sidekick.

But if Smith's wicket has nothing to do with the pitch, then surely Mitch Marsh's does. The man who is in the team to bowl a few overs and make people angrier that Usman Khawaja is not. Marsh walks to the middle like this pitch has dismissed him seven times already. Instead of seeing the odd clump of dust fly up from the surface, Marsh sees a million venomous robot spiders jumping up. And that perhaps is why he is so easily claimed by the flat, straight, skiddy one from Jadeja.

And then there is Matthew Wade, a man who was picked for this tour based on the empirical evidence of his pluck, determination and spit-in-your-eye style of playing. His innings looks like it was only that long because the bowlers were arguing among themselves about who would take his wicket. He falls to pace - the pace that strikes him straight in front as his head falls over - which at least gives him a different view of the pitch that played no part in his downfall.

But Renshaw, who had been batting as well as anyone after returning from the bowels of the stadium, is taken by a spinner. He falls to good bowling and no real pitch viciousness. It would be hard to say Renshaw had played a poor innings, just as hard as it seems to be for him to score through the off side. Or convince people he should be allowed a toilet break.

And we cannot forget the last two wickets of the day, which, despite the devilish nature of the pitch, also fall to pace bowling. Or that after they fall, it is Mitchell Starc - with a Test batting average of 25, who bats behind Mitchell Marsh and Wade - who treats the Indian bowlers like something he found on his shoe, despite the dust and despite India being more on top then than any time on the day.

What he does find on his shoe are bits of the Pune pitch. Which, after all of the chagrin, is good enough for an unbroken tenth-wicket partnership of 51. Good enough for Starc to smash Jadeja out of the park, to score quickly off Jayant, and to handle Ashwin. Good enough to give Australia a far less embarrassing total than the one they clearly deserve.

And so Australia are left with a score of 256 runs with one wicket remaining at the end of the day. They can, and probably will, cast a sneering eye over the pitch. But they can't use it as an excuse for most, or nearly all, of their wickets. Those who hear even the slightest complaint or whisper that this pitch is why they underperformed will do a collective eye-roll, eyebrow lift and shoulder nudge.

Australia's batsmen knew the pitch was going to spin, and it spun. There could have been comfort in that predictability; instead, there was horror and dread. When the dust settled on the Pune pitch at stumps, the constant fear and loathing seemed a bit silly. Australia were in trouble, and the pitch couldn't be blamed. This isn't the first time.