India might have imagined a nightmare scenario heading into Day 4 of the second Test in Brisbane, a nightmare where they lose wickets in a heap and the 2-0 deficit looks like a foregone conclusion.
Australia would have also gone into the penultimate day at the Gabba hoping for early wickets, wickets which would help them ensure they do not have a large total to chase in the fourth innings of the Test match.
Unfortunately for India and much to Australia's glee, the Indian nightmare and the Aussie hope mingled together rather well with that wicket train that the Indian batsmen always seem to carry with them in away Test matches coming into play yet again, as they crumbled to 224 all out in 64.3 overs, for a lead of 127 runs.
Australia made heavy weather of the chase, even if the result was never in doubt, losing six wickets en route to their target, eventually finishing on 130/6 in 23.1 overs to complete a four-wicket victory and with it take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match Test series.
With 128 to chase, Australia did not make the greatest of starts, with David Warner and Shane Watson dismissed early by a fired-up Ishant Sharma. Warner (6, 12b) was struck early in the innings on the glove, and never looked comfortable from there, before an absolute peach from Ishant, which came in and then went away while rearing up as well, found the left-hander's outside edge.
India sensed the slightest of chances of at least making a game of it soon after as Ishant, via a short delivery, picked up Watson for the sixth time in his Test career, leaving Australia on 25 for two in seven overs at Tea – another 103 runs for victory -- with Chris Rogers (15, 20b, 2x4) and Steven Smith (2, 4b) in the middle.
Rogers (55, 57b, 10x4) did a Warner and belted boundaries at will to cut short any hopes of a stunning Indian victory, marching onto his half-century at run-a-ball. Even if he was sent back by the impressive Ishant (9-2-38-3) via an outside edge which was caught in the slips by Shikhar Dhawan, there was never any danger of a collapse, with Australia on 85 runs at that moment, needing just another 43 runs.
It might have been different had Virat Kohli finally figured out how to take a catch in the slips a little earlier with Smith getting an outside edge off Varun Aaron, but with that chance thrown away, that sliver of an Indian chance also waltzed away.
Shaun Marsh (17, 17b, 3x4), Smith (28, 39b, 4x4) and Brad Haddin (1, 2b) would fall late in the piece, but with the target too small, the game was Australia's – if only India had scored another 70-odd runs to take that target beyond 200, then we might have had a different result.
Earlier, the omens were not too good for India, starting the day on 71 for one, with Virat Kohli walking out to the crease with Cheteshwar Pujara after news trickled out that Shikhar Dhawan, the overnight batsman, had injured his elbow in the nets.
Such a small change should not affect the team too much, but it just does and once Kohli fell early to the he-is-definitely-back Mitchell Johnson (17.3-4-61-4), India caved in quicker than a sand castle on the beach in a storm.
Kohli (1, 11b) played on while attempting to steer a ball outside off stump he really should have been leaving in the fourth over of the day, before Ajinkya Rahane (10, 8b, 2x4) followed suit in Johnson's next over, after the right-hander was unable to keep a rising rip-snorter from the speedy left-armer down.
Johnson, after his match-changing 88 on Friday, was clearly in the mood now and Rohit Sharma (0, 2b) was his next victim – just a couple of deliveries later -- with the why-on-earth-is-he-still-in-the-Test-team batsman getting a thin edge through to Brad Haddin off another wicked rising delivery, which, unlike Rahane, Rohit could have easily left. Whether Rohit actually hit it or not is up for debate, but the right-hander should have not been playing at the delivery in the first place.
All hopes now rested on Pujara and MS Dhoni, but that wicket train would just not stop as the skipper was sent back to the pavilion by Josh Hazlewood (16-0-74-2) lbw. It was a debatable decision with Dhoni (0, 2b) struck in front of the wicket when he was well over two metres down the pitch.
But such was India's luck at that moment, that umpire Marais Erasmus, who has been reluctant to give the lbws all game, decided now was the time to stick that index finger up to send India crashing to 87 for five.
Pujara and Ashwin produced a slight recovery, whittling down the deficit and giving India the lead, albeit a small one, but the inevitable wicket came about after a 30-run partnership in a little over seven overs, with Mitchell Starc (8-1-27-2) getting Ashwin (19, 29b, 2x4) caught behind.
It was another questionable decision, as the snicko and HotSpot seemed to suggest a nick off Ashwin's trousers rather than the inside edge that Australia so confidently appealed for.
India had no choice but to send in Dhawan (41, 92b, 3x4), elbow injury and all, and the left-hander and Pujara looked like their would see their team off to Lunch, only for that brilliant debutant Hazlewood to strike again.
Pujara (43, 93b, 7x4) was the man to go, with Hazlewood sending in a rising delivery which the batsman could only fend to Lyon at gully, leaving India in absolute tatters, with only the tail-enders to give Dhawan company.
Dhawan, showing no effects of that elbow injury, and Umesh Yadav (30, 42b, 2x4, 2x6) did pretty well under the circumstances after Lunch, where India were staring down the barrel at 157 for seven in 47 overs, putting on 60 runs together to at least push that lead past the 100-run mark.
Once Dhawan (81, 145b, 8x4) fell to Nathan Lyon, lbw while attempting a sweep shot, the innings was over quickly enough, leaving Australia with a small total to chase for a 2-0 series lead.