Shane Watson capped off a strong return to Test cricket after a three-year layoff, bowling 19 overs to pick up 3 for 45 and then provided much-needed impetus with his batting as the first Test built up to its climax.
The allrounder helped tilt the scales in Australia's favour during the course of several crucial moments in the Test and is enjoying every minute he spends out on the field.
"I haven't had as much fun playing cricket like the way I did over the last four days. I've learnt a lot, playing Harbhajan on a turning track, handling Zaheer's reverse swing, bowling on wickets like these which is really hard work," he said. "It's been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed the Test match atmosphere."
While Watson the bowler found it hard work on this pitch the batsman in him felt that conditions were much better than they threatened to be.
“The pitch is not really that bad and it has held on really well. It hasn't deteriorated as much as we thought it would," he said. "But yes, there are cracks and it can get a bit up and down. Hopefully I'll send down a few on the right spots.”
While Watson will certainly have a role to play with the ball when Australia declare on the final day, his work with the bat is not quite done yet. It was his belligerent partnership with Brad Haddin that set things up just when it seemed like India had wrested the initiative, reducing Australia to 128 for 5.
"It was hard work, it was about survival. Zaheer Khan bowled well all through and he was reversing the ball later on. Harbhajan bowled well and it was difficult to get them away for runs," Watson said of his partnership with Haddin.
"Survival was tough and we were focussed on that. Not that we were defending every ball, but like we saw yesterday when Zaheer and Harbhajan went after us, being aggressive and playing a few shots can get you out of a hole. Of course you need a bit of luck going your way."