It's been hard to gauge how the pitches have been in the series so far. One look at the Chennai pitch and you thought the match would not go into the fourth day, but you saw almost a 1000 runs scored in the first two innings of that match.
Here again in Hyderabad, the surface looked
conducive to not just spin, but also to seam, with pronounced cracks around the good length area that seamers like to hit a lot.
The pitch is just rough enough for the seam to grip and provide lateral movement to the faster bowlers, an advantage that seam bowlers did not have in Chennai.
But here again, the way Australia batted in the post-lunch session, it seemed that the pitch had gone to sleep after a heavy lunch.
Fortunately, India came back strongly in the post-tea session to put the pitch in proper perspective.
The more I watch Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the more I am impressed with him. Wicket-less in his debut Test, it was great to see him make an impact straight away in the second.
To have two top-order batsmen out, while they were defending on this dry pitch was really an exceptional effort for a guy who bowls at around 130 kph. Tells you a bit about his character, he looks a guy from the Ravi Shastri school of cricket who make the most of the limited talent that they have. Such cricketers serve their team well as they never take anything for granted.
That it was more 'cut' off the pitch, rather than swing in the air that got him those three early wickets, shows that he is not heavily reliant on swing to get his wickets.
Also, he bowls this uncanny length where the batsmen are a fraction of a second late, deciding whether to play that off the front foot or the back foot. It's been fascinating to see him out-bowling the senior pro, and the more gifted, Ishant Sharma every time they have bowled together.
The writer is a former India batsman (PMG)