We haven't adapted well to the surface - Kumble
"There is always a first time," Anil Kumble said when reminded of the ask in front of them. Australia lead them by 298 runs with six wickets in hand after having bowled them out for 105 in the first innings. Only five times has 300 been scored in the fourth innings in India, and the highest chase accomplished is 387. And this is not just any Indian pitch, this is a pitch where dust flew when David Warner scratched his guard on day one. By all means, India need a miracle to experience a "first", but Kumble was hopeful they could do it.
"We would like to restrict them to as little as possible," Kumble said. "We dropped a few catches. It has hurt us in the past, especially in this game you need to hold your chances even if they are half chances. We dropped Steven Smith on a couple of occasions, that has certainly pushed us back. Hopefully tomorrow morning we can pick up a few early wickets and then put the pressure back on them."
Kumble, though, felt India let the game slip away before the dropped chances in the second innings. "It's a surface where you needed to adapt," Kumble said. "We didn't adapt really well. Probably if you look at yesterday, the first 80 runs in the first session and the last 60 runs for the last wicket, that slightly took us away from what we were wanting to restrict Australia to."
Kumble said India could have shown more restraint with the bat. "You are bound to have one bad day," Kumble said. "It was disappointing. We were in a pretty decent position when [KL] Rahul and Ajinkya [Rahane] were batting out there. But once Rahul got out, we lost those four wickets in five or six balls. That certainty pushed us back. You are bound to have a bad day.
"One of those things where a couple of soft dismissals. And this pitch was certainly challenging, so we needed a lot more restraint and showed that if you put your head down, you could make those runs. It was unfortunate that once Rahul got out, we seemed to lose the bearing at that point of time."
Rahul and Rahane had helped India recover from 44 for 3 with a 50-run partnership. Rahul played an excellent innings, but most of it under duress. He seemed unwell, and to make it worse he dislocated his shoulder while hitting a six. When he went to hit another six later in his innings, the shoulder popped out again and a big outside edge settled with long-off. An almighty collapsed followed, and India went from 94 for 3 to 105 all out.
Kumble was asked if the injury led to Rahul's shot. Even in the lead-up, he seemed to be throwing his bat around. It could have been possible that Rahul wanted to get as many as he could before it got too uncomfortable. "I think the shot created the injury, not just to him but even to the team," Kumble joked, making it clear discomfort was not behind the shot.
There was good news for India. Towards stumps, Rahul came back on the field after substitute Abhinav Mukund had dropped two catches, one a difficult grab at mid-on and the other a more regulation offering at bat-pad.
"He hurt his shoulder a little bit," Kumble said. "It came off a little bit while he was batting. So we had to take some care there, this is more a precaution. He seems okay now. He was back in the field for the last couple of overs. He should be okay for tomorrow. We will have to see how he responds. Usually this kind of injury take 24 hours before it resurfaces. So we are hoping he will be fine tomorrow morning."
Kumble was asked if Rahul's dismissal was the turning point. "In hindsight, yes," he said. "You need to play your shots on this type of wicket. You couldn't really blame the batsman. In hindsight he could have held back. After that, that was the start of things to happen. It was unfortunate we had a poor day. The lower order has contributed to us exceptionally in the past and today was not our day."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo