Josh Hazlewood continued to look like Glen McGrath MK II, with another immaculate bowling performance, as India crumbled, then held firm, before falling again on Day 2 morning of the second Test in Brisbane. Steven Smith then stepped into those captain's shoes with consummate ease to glide his way to another delightful innings, but it is India who stay in relative control after another absorbing day of Test cricket at the Gabba.
Hazlewood's early strikes gave Australia the momentum, with the Test match then ebbing and flowing one way and the other, before eventually deciding to sit somewhere near the fence on India's side.
It is anybody's game really, even if India have the edge having put up the runs on the board, after Australia finished on 221 for four after 52 overs, trailing by 187 runs.
Heading into the second day in a strong position at 311 for four, India would have envisaged a long partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, but Hazlewood (23.2-6-68-5) had other ideas, picking up a debut five-for to bowl India out for 408 in 109.4 overs – not a bad score, though for the away team.
In reply, Australia started like they always seem to do nowadays, with David Warner smashing fours left, right and centre to give the home team a flying start.
However, there would be no third consecutive century for the explosive left-hander, as Umesh Yadav, making his first appearance in the series with the ball got the prized wicket. It was a nothing ball really, just short of a length on leg stump, which Warner (29, 28b, 6x4) tried to swivel-pull to the onside, but instead it found the top edge and looped behind the wicket with R Ashwin completing a simple catch at first slip.
That Warner wicket, though, did not quell the Australian momentum, with Chris Rogers, in need of a big knock, and Shane Watson carrying on from where Warner left off, putting on a half-century partnership in quick time.
It looked like the duo would take Australia to Tea unscathed, but Watson (25, 29b, 4x4) gifted his wicket to India a few minutes before Tea, holing out to Shikhar Dhawan, who completed a wonderful catch, at mid-on while going for a big heave off Ashwin.
Rogers, despite the two wickets, looked good at the crease, a lot more solid and smooth than he did in Adelaide, with Steven Smith, desperate for a big score as well on his captaincy debut, giving him company and just when it looked like Australia would go into Tea just two wickets down, disaster struck as the opener fell.
It was again a nothing ball from Yadav, with Rogers (55, 79b, 10x4) gloving the ball through to MS Dhoni down the leg side, just after he had got to his half-century, leaving Australia on 121 for three in 24.5 overs at Tea, trailing India by 287 runs.
From there it was the Steven Smith show, with the right-hander showing exactly why the Australia selectors placed so much faith in him, playing another blinder of an innings filled with one drool-inducing shot after another.
Smith and Shaun Marsh, in for the injured Michael Clarke, settled the Australia innings after those two strikes just before Tea, putting on 87 runs at a reasonable rate. Smith was the dominant partner, picking up from there he left off in the last Test match when he made a century and a half-century in the two innings.
The new Aussie skipper's partnership with Marsh inched Australia to the first target – avoiding the follow on, and just after the duo had done that, Marsh fell. The left-hander never really looked 100 percent comfortable in the middle, even if there were a couple of pretty shots through the leg side, and he was also given a major reprieve when Rahane dropped him off the unlucky Varun Aaron.
However, a couple of overs after that drop, India would get their man, with Marsh (32, 70b, 5x4) swiping at a wide delivery from Yadav (13-2-48-3) and Ashwin completing a wonderful catch on the hop in the slips.
With rain looming large – a thunderstorm was predicted for the day – Smith (65, 88b, 6x4, 2x6) and Mitchell Marsh (7, 22b, 1x4), bad hamstring and all, hung on until bad light stopped play to take Australia to could-have-been-better-but-we'll-take-it position.
In the morning, the puts-the-ball-in-the-right-channels-time-and-again fast bowler who goes by the name of Josh Hazlewood sent Rahane packing in just the third over of the day, and a peach of a delivery it was. The ball shaped in and just drifted away at the last minute while taking the outside edge of Rahane (81, 132b, 8x4) with it to allow Brad Haddin to complete his fifth catch of the innings.
Rohit (32, 55b, 3x4, 1x6) followed suit soon after with an awful shot to Shane Watson, throwing his bat at a wide delivery and only managing to nick it to Steven Smith at second slip, with the Australia skipper completing an outstanding catch diving to his right.
India needed a partnership if they were to prevent a collapse of mammoth proportions and captain cool MS Dhoni and R Ashwin, again showing his worth with the bat in Test match cricket, provided just that with a 57-run alliance in just 11 overs.
Both batsmen played a few enterprising shots – Ashwin more pure, and Dhoni in his own inimitable way – and that score finally looked like going past the 400-run mark, when at 328 for six it looked unlikely.
With Dhoni and Ashwin (35, 41b, 6x4) threatening a really long partnership, Smith brought back Hazlewood, who was given a short spell in order to avoid him cramping up again, and the debutant answered his captain's call in some style.
The first to go was Ashwin, who could do little but get an outside edge through to Watson at first slip off a ball that was pitched on the perfect length before shaping away just a touch – very McGrath-like, again, it must be said (no wonder the great man himself tipped Hazlewood for a big career).
Hazlewood's next over and Dhoni (33, 53b, 4x4) was also sent back with another peach of a delivery just outside off stump, with an edge finding its way through to Haddin as the India skipper just fractionally delayed his decision to leave the ball. That wicket completed a five-for for Hazlewood on debut, and a deserved one it certainly was.
With India on 394 for eight, Hazlewood and Australia would have smelled blood, with the bowler looking at a seven-wicket haul in his first ever Test match, but Varun Aaron was picked up by Nathan Lyon, before the final wicket fell soon after, also to Lyon (25.4-2-105-3) as Umesh Yadav holed out in the deep.