Australian Test debutant Moises Henriques says the first Test against India is evenly poised after a thrilling opening day in Chennai.
The tourists were in trouble at 5-153 after wicket-keeper Matthew Wade was dismissed for 12, but Henriques (68) played a terrific role in a 151-run stand with captain Michael Clarke (103 not out).
As a result of the partnership, Australia finished the first day at 7-316 and although the Portuguese-born Henriques was disappointed to lose his wicket late in the day, he was happy with his gritty performance at the crease.
"It was tough work," Henriques said of his innings after play.
"I got told a lot that after your first 20 or 30 balls (playing spin in India), it gets easier. But it didn't feel like it got too much easier out there.
"They are very disciplined with what they are trying to do and (Ravichandran) Ashwin's length was very good all day. (He) never really gave me too many bad balls. It was certainly a hard grind out there and I very much enjoyed the experience.
"Unfortunately I thought I really missed out on a chance to finish the day at 5-330 and that would have been a really good day for us. But at this stage, I think the game's in the balance and it's obviously going to be a big hour first thing for us tomorrow.
"Hopefully we can go out there and bat well in the first hour and Michael can continue his amazing form."
With the decision review system (DRS) unavailable during the series, Clarke was very lucky on 39 when he clearly edged the ball onto his thigh pad before being caught in close.
The Indian appeal was turned down and Clarke made the most of his reprieve, hitting 11 fours and one six in his 169-ball stay at the crease.
His efforts stopped Ashwin (6-88 off 30 overs) from completely stealing the show on a dusty first day pitch.
And Henriques said he loved every minute of batting with Clarke, who cited his leadership and presence as 'calming'.
The all-rounder – who was selected instead of a second spin option– also believes spin will play a huge role in determining the outcome of the match.
"The footmarks and the loose ground out there is something like a three-day wicket," Henriques said.
"Even back home in Australia you wouldn't see that on day three or four. Just too have that loose soil out there, come day four and five the ball's going to start playing some tricks."
Ashwin was the unlucky bowler when Clarke was given a second life and said after play that he was confident it should have been given out.
"It was clear to me that he hit the ball and that's why we all went up to appeal," Ashwin said.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 23 February, 2013 7:41AM AEST