After a sedate first three days at the Adelaide Oval, it was back to the old days on Friday as a Test match finally broke out on day four.
Discussion has turned from Michael Clarke’s degenerative discs to the timing of his declaration.
David Warner made the most of his reprieves to score a second century in the first Test against India, giving Australia a 363-run lead at stumps on a heated fourth day.
Warner was clean bowled for 102, riling the tourists with his words as much as his willow as Australia amassed a total of 5-290 on Friday.
Clarke was dismissed for seven, but he dived for a catch while fielding and looked sprightly compared to when his chronic back injury flared up on day one.
Despite initial fears the skipper’s summer could be over, he is now well placed to be a surprise starter in the second Test.
Before that decision is made, Clarke must resolve when to call his teammates in.
Mitch Marsh belted a quick-fire 40 as he lifted Australia’s run-rate in the final 30 minutes of play on Friday, scoring 24 runs from one Karn Sharma over.
Steve Smith (52no) and Brad Haddin (14no) continued to score freely after Marsh holed out as India stacked the leg side with fielders.
Warner’s ton came from 154 balls and the left-hander was relatively subdued compared to the first dig, when he raced to 32 off 15 deliveries.
Warner was dropped on 89, while Varun Aaron was gobsmacked when a leg-side caught behind appeal was turned down with the opener on 70.
Warner may have been on his way if India had agreed to use the Decision Review System.
It was all the more frustrating for the visitors, given Warner had been bowled by Aaron on 66 in the 34th over.
The express paceman, no-doubt a little testy after part-timers Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma were thrown the ball before him, gave Warner a send-off.
Replays showed Aaron overstepped so Warner was recalled, prompting the pugnacious batsman to return serve.
Shane Watson, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan all joined the ruckus, swapping terse words before umpire Ian Gould eventually brokered peace.
There was another spot fire in the third session, an unrealistic lbw appeal from Rohit Sharma triggering a kerfuffle involving Smith and Kohli.
Rain ruined most of day two, further complicating the declaration equation.
The highest victorious fourth-innings Test total at the venue was Australia’s 6-315 in 1902.
India scored 445 in a loss almost 40 years ago in Adelaide, while South Africa’s stonewall in the epic 2012 draw will be in the forefront of Clarke’s mind.
The visitors were bowled out for 444 in the first innings, with Nathan Lyon running through their tail on Friday morning.
Lyon finished with figures of 5-134 from 36 overs, flighting the ball and attacking the rough created by Ishant Sharma’s footmarks.
The most recent five-wicket haul by an Australian tweaker in a home Test against India came from Bob Simpson in 1968.
The offspinner’s turn and bounce will be critical to his side’s hopes of starting the four-Test series with a win.