Steve Smith posted yet another captain’s century but Australia wasted a strong start to be all out for 300 late on day one of their Test series decider against India.
India were 0-0 in response at stumps on Saturday, having survived the one over delivered by Josh Hazlewood.
Smith and David Warner blitzed the opening session of the fourth Test in Dharamsala, powering the visitors to 1-144 shortly after lunch.
Left-warm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, on debut in the absence of injured captain Virat Kohli, then turned the match on its head by kickstarting a collapse of 5-64.
“A little bit, yeah,” Matthew Wade said, when asked if his side squandered a chance to build a far more imposing total.
“At 1-140 after lunch, you’d hope to push on.
“They bowled really well through the middle session and we had to find a way to grind out 300. I thought to get there in the end was a good effort.”
Yadav, mentored by Kolkata teammate Brad Hogg during the Indian Premier League, shed a tear when he claimed his first Test wicket and finished with figures of 4-68.
“We have a look at everyone before the start of the series, so the boys were on top of what he was going to bowl,” Wade said.
“It’s different when you get out into a game scenario … he bowled quite well.”
Wade rallied with his first Test half-century since Australia’s 2013 tour of India but the top-ranked Test side turned the screws superbly.
Momentum shifted dramatically when Yadav, India’s first ever left-arm wrist spinner at Test level, snared the key scalp of Warner.
It broke a 134-run stand between Smith and Warner, the first century partnership between the captain and vice-captain. The leaders, who scored 111 and 56 respectively, had looked set to march Australia to a 400-plus total.
Instead, Warner prodded forward to a ball that reared off the pitch, took the edge and carried to stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
Yadav then clean bowled Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell – both for eight, bamboozling them with late drift and a wrong ‘un respectively. Pat Cummins became the 22-year-old’s fourth victim when he chipped a catch back to the bowler.
Rahane clasped a low slips catch to dismiss Smith for 111. The classy right-hander, who won the toss for the third time in the series, was undone by a straight delivery from ace offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Wade was impressed with how Rahane rallied his side with minimal input from Kohli, who regularly ran drinks and passed on encouragement and pointers to teammates.
“They were very, very good. They were very calm and went about their work today. They weren’t over excited, they just went about their work,” the wicketkeeper said.
The high-stakes match, which comes with the series at 1-1, started with Karun Nair putting down a one-handed slips catch offered by Warner.