With Australia Day and Republic Day being celebrated on either side of the Indian Ocean, both teams in Adelaide were wanting to claim the spoils for their country.
In the end, it’s probably fair that the honours were shared, after India resumed on Day 3 at 2/61.
Like clockwork, the first breakthroughs on Day 3 came from Peter “new spell” Siddle, who as he does, removed Sachin Tendulkar with his eighth ball of the day.
It’s becoming seriously unbelievable how often he strikes early in a new spell.
Siddle had Tendulkar pushing one outside off and drew a big nick that carried low to the right of Ricky Ponting at second slip. Just.
I thought we were about to have another “moment” regarding a claimed catch, when the front-on replay seemed to show the ball and Ponting’s fingers and the ground all coming into contact at the same time.
The third umpire had already been called by this stage, and that first replay put enough doubt into my mind that Tendulkar might yet get a reprieve.
Fortunately/unfortunately (depending on what flag you wave on January 26), the side-on replay showed the ball carrying comfortably, and the Little Master was on his way.
Siddle struck again in his next over, removing Gautam Gambhir with a ball that climbed on the Indian opener, took the shoulder of the bat, and ballooned to Mike Hussey in the gully.
Once again the short ball has been Gambhir’s undoing, and it’s hard to see him getting too many in his half for the time being.
Nathan Lyon claimed VVS Laxman, caught behind to Brad Haddin, and suddenly India were 5/111 just before lunch.
Lyon’s numbers don’t show how well he’s bowled in this series, and though the ball he dismissed Laxman with didn’t do a lot, it was still a very clever piece of bowling to draw the false shot.
Undoubtedly, Lyon will get more chances in this Test to improve the unflattering series stats.
Despite doing the Australia Day thing and going for a swim at the neighbours’ after lunch (which should’ve significantly increased the likelihood of missing the remaining wickets), I was pleasantly surprised to see India still five-for on my return.
On reviewing the tape, Virat Kohli has clearly played the Indian innings of the summer.
Everything thing the Australian attack threw at him was repelled to great effect, and often returned with interest.
Despite struggling early in this series, he’s come good in Perth and in Adelaide, and his maiden Test century was essentially the difference between India following on and not.
Kohli received excellent support from stand-in 'keeper Wriddhiman Saha, whose demise to the new ball brought with it a slightly early Tea break.
Kohli and Saha added a vital 114 for the sixth wicket, which is only India’s third century stand for the series, and only three runs off being at the top of the partnership list.
Ryan Harris got the breakthrough this time, removing Saha in the fifth over with the new rock.
Saha had shouldered arms based on width, only to suffer a batsman’s worst nightmare as the ball seamed back into the top of his off stump.
With just his seventh ball after the break, “new spell” Siddle struck again, trapping Ravi Ashwin LBW, though replays would later show he might’ve got a rough one.
Next ball, Zaheer Khan proved that he really is batting too high, out caught behind while trying to put Siddle into the Members’ over mid-wicket.
Brad Haddin took a good low catch, and Siddle was on a hat-trick.
Ishant Sharma would survive, but Kohli was still on 91* at the other end while all this was happening.
You could hardly blame him if he’d started panicking by now.
Eight off the next Harris over took him to 99*, and then he very nearly had himself run out when Sharma didn’t respond to a call for a quick single.
Some words were exchanged between Kohli and Ben Hilfenhaus in the change of overs, about which Kohli had plenty to say in the post-match.
Finally, Kohli got his well-deserved hundred, and had two parties to boot.
On pushing the ball through the covers, Kohli erupted into celebrations, whipped the helmet off for a kiss, waved the bat to all parts, glared at several Australian fielders, and was generally pretty happy with himself.
Which was fine, but Sharma was trying to call him back for a second run at the time.
Celebrations were paused, the run completed, and helmet-kissing and bat-waving resumed.
I can’t blame him; I reckon I’d hold the game up for hours if I were lucky enough to make a Test century.
India would only last another four overs from here, with Australia not enforcing the follow-on and instead electing to build on their already imposing 332-run lead.
Peter Siddle finished with 5/49 for the innings, which remarkably is his first bag of more than three wickets for the Australian summer.
In a super-consistent season where he’s now taken 31 wickets across the six Tests, Siddle had seven three-wicket hauls in the previous ten innings.
Australia finished the day well on top, and leading by 382 at stumps, but not without yet another top order disintegration.
3/27 in Melbourne, 3/37 in Sydney, and 3/84 in the first innings here in Adelaide was followed up with 3/40 in the second innings, in what is becoming a worrying trend.
Chief amongst this was a third series duck for Shaun Marsh, who now almost certainly won’t require whites for his Caribbean tour in March.
17 runs at 2.83 across six innings will surely put his Test career on hold for the moment.
Ricky Ponting (1*) and Michael Clarke (9*) will resume on Day 4, and set about building yet another mammoth total for India to chase.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia