It's amazing how a Test match that looks like it is just meandering into nothingness can suddenly spring up into life, and not just "sitting at home, chilling and watching TV" life, but "going out for an adventure you will never forget" life.
India and their tail-enders did their bit by getting quite close to Australia's first innings total of 572, by making 475 all out in 162 overs to trail their opponents by 97 runs,andsuddenlyit was a different ball game.
Virat Kohli went on the attack with the ball, using off-spinner R Ashwin with the new ball and dismissing David Warner early, with Australia going for boundaries with pretty much every ball, once again led by that unbelievably masterful captain of theirs – Steven Smith, who went on to break the world record for the most runs scored in a four-match Test series with a jaw-dropping 769 runs.
India wanted to bowl Australia out for a small total, with Ashwin their big weapon on a turning Day 4 pitch, and the home team were looking for quick runs to put as much runs as possible on the board so that they can come out and bowl from ball one on Day 5 and put the pressure right back on the Indians.
Thanks to that attitude from the two teams, it produced some seriously gripping cricket in the final session and a bit, with Ashwin picking up a few wickets and troubling batsmen left, right and centre, and Smith, with a little help from his friends, going into one-day mode with consummate ease.
Australia finished Day 4 on 251 for six at stumps, for an overall lead of 348 runs, and it does look like Smith will not play it safe this time around and will declare overnight, which means India have 349 runs to score -- something that has never happened at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the highest ever chase being 288 -- to pull off what would be an amazing win.
The home side's second innings started in disastrous fashion from the home team's point of view, with David Warner sent packing in just the second over, and that too by Ashwin, who opened the bowling for India.
Kohli's decision to give his off-spinner the new ball worked as it caught Australia a little off guard, created those chances with Warner (4, 5b) nicking one to Murali Vijay in the slips.
While India attacked from ball one, so did Australia, despite the early dismissal of Warner, with Chris Rogers taking up the smashing mantle with a few quickfire runs. Shane Watson also came out in aggressive mood, lighting a serious fire on this otherwise slow-burner of a Test match.
Watson, though, should have gone back into the hut just before Tea as well, but Wriddhiman Saha failed to gather the ball cleanly after a mix-up between the two batsmen and another chance was gone.
Australia eventually raced into Tea on 38 for one in six overs for an overall lead of 135 runs, before Watson (16, 17b, 3x4) fell soon in the second session, playing on to Ashwin (19-2-105-4).
All that did, though, was bring in Smith, who went after the bowling from the start and did it to great effect. There really is no stopping Smith (71, 70b, 8x4, 1x6) at the moment and the skipper batted at a run a ball to lay down the gauntlet in some style.
Rogers (56, 77b, 7x4), at the other end, after a quick start, slowed down a tad, and almost inevitably fell after crossing that half-century mark. Smith, however, continued his merry way, not bothered too much by Marsh's wicket at the other end as Australia piled on the speedy runs, with Joe Burns (66, 39b, 8x4, 3x6) and Brad Haddin (31, 30b, 2x4, 2x6) also getting in on the act, in the hunt for a dramatic Day 5 win.
Earlier, India's hopes of watching Kohli bat, bat and then bat some more to take them close to Australia's first innings total in the 4th Test vanished quickly enough, before good rearguard action, something that India have not been able to do too much in this series, kept those candles from completely blowing out.
The first session on Day 3 was attritional, and that proved to be the case again on Day 4 morning, with Australia, yet again, hitting their marks time and again, forcing India to knuckle down and ensure they don't press that self-destruct button, before some decent hitting towards the end cut down Australia's lead below the three-figure mark.
Kohli's early wicket meant a long innings was needed from somewhere else, and Wriddhiman Saha, the other overnight batsman, and R Ashwin combined pretty well, before Bhuvneshwar Kumar reminded the rest of the world and their own fans that the Indian tail-enders can bat a bit as well.
Kohli would have walked in expecting, hoping to get to that double century mark which he has not quite been able to do yet, but that man Ryan Harris had other ideas. Just four and a bit overs into the day and Kohli was making his walk back to the pavilion after flicking a ball from the stumps straight to Chris Rogers at midwicket.
All Kohli (147, 230b, 20x4) could manage on Day 4 was seven runs and there was that "what might have been" feeling pervading through everyone again as he made that long walk back to the dressing room.
Australia would have almost expected to walk through the rest of the Indian batsmen after picking up Kohli – such has been the visitors' brittleness in the lower order – but Saha, now looking to make the wicketkeeper/batsman slot his own, and Ashwin hung around in there commendably for nearly 11 overs, while putting on 31 runs.
Saha, in particular, had to face a few hostile spells from Australia – with Josh Hazlewood, not just those bowling probing Glenn McGrath-like lengths that we have grown accustomed to, getting a wicket via a short ball.
After Saha (35, 96b, 3x4) had played most of them pretty well, Hazlewood did get his man with the Indian wicketkeeper unable to decide on whether to leave or play and only managing to loop it up to Steven Smith in the slips.
Ashwin stayed strong despite Saha's wicket, with Bhuvneshwar bringing out his batting chops as well to take India into Lunch, before Bhuvneshwar cut loose a little, getting a few quick runs.
However, his luck would run out soon after, though, as the third umpire gave an extremely debatable decision. The bat of Bhuvnehswar struck the ground right when the ball did as well, and replays showed the bat probably chopping down on the ball rather than taking an edge on its way up -- either way you could not be sure, but TV umpire Simon Fry decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the fielding side for some reason and Bhuvneshwar had to walk back after an impressive 30 (75b, 5x4).
Ashwin (50, 111b, 6x4), knowing there was not too much time left before the innings would end, got to his half-century, before duly nicking one to Brad Haddin off the impressive Starc (32-7-106-3).
The right-hander had played his hand, though, and with the deficit at 116 runs with a wicket remaining, Mohammed Shami (16, 26b, 2x4, 1x6) decided to whack a few to cut the lead below 100.