Kumble - a fighter to the finish
All good things come to an end, but endings are usually sad, and it was emotional for me to see Anil Kumble bowling his last over in Test cricket for India.
An injury to his left hand limited his participation in the third Test against Australia and prompted him to call it a day immediately after the game ended in a draw.
He bowled with a heavily bandaged left hand in Delhi after receiving 11 stitches and he will be remembered for his bravery as well as for his immense skill.
Who can forget his spell against West Indies in Antigua in 2002 when he bowled with a broken jaw after originally planning to fly home to India to have it operated on.
Once he that Sachin Tendulkar was getting the ball to turn and a possible Indian victory was in sight, he decided to ignore the pain, got Brian Lara's wicket and left the field only when the chance of an Indian win was gone.
Such was the courage of the man - he has always been a fighter and lived up to it even in his last outing
The thing that separates Kumble from other great Indian bowlers was his ability to win Test matches on his own. Give him a turner and he would almost guarantee an Indian victory with a bagful of wickets.
In the early part of his career, he was criticised for being a one-dimensional bowler and was considered lethal only on turning Indian wickets.
He took that criticism on the chin and continued to add variety to his bowling so that he eventually became a threat in all conditions, home or abroad. His outstanding performances in Australia underlined his growth as an all-round champion bowler.
Kumble was a little off-colour in his last couple of series and being a thorough professional, he knew his time was up. In one of his columns prior to this series, he wrote that he would go out on his own terms and he did just that.
The match in Delhi was dominated throughout by the batsmen and we witnessed only 22 wickets falling in five days. Not a pleasant sight for the spectators.
Two Indians - Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman - made double centuries in the first innings and further exposed the ineffectiveness of this Australian attack.Both of them batted with a lot of patience and panache.
Gambhir has come of age as a Test cricketer and his back-to-back centuries showed his hunger for runs. Laxman has had a liking for the Australian attack for quite some time and it is no wonder they rate him so highly.
This was the first time two batsmen scored double centuries in one innings against an Australian team led by Ricky Ponting which says a lot about how lacklustre their bowling in general has been and how much they've been missing a quality world-class spinner.
Australia had to bat out of their skins to save the game and they did exactly that. Each player applied himself and ensured that wickets didn't fall in a heap. Despite just one century in their reply, the Australians managed to string together enough partnerships to keep India at bay.
The injury to Kumble during the match and Harbhajan Singh before it, resulting in him missing the game, meant India needed someone else to shine. Virender Sehwag did exactly that and took his first five-for on his home ground.
I rate Sehwag as more than just a part-time spinner because he has a lovely body action and puts a lot of rotations on the ball when he bowls. The rough outside the off-stump was assisting the off-spinner more than anyone else and that made me wonder what would have happened had Harbhajan been fit - it might have been a different story altogether.
Unfortunately, 'ifs' and 'buts' don't matter in sport.
Once the Australians scored 577 in their first innings, the match was going only one way - a dull draw. There was never enough time left in the match nor enough life in the track to provide any other result.
Australia salvaged some lost pride after the defeat in Mohali but there's still a lot to be done if they are to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy and they will have to force the issue in the final Test.
Nagpur, the venue for the last Test match, might bring back some happy memories for Australia as this is where they clinched the series in 2004. But the Vidharbha Cricket Association has built a new stadium since then and this will be the first Test match played there.
No-one really knows how the track is going to behave but with the trophy up for grabs, we can expect a hard-fought battle.
Aakash Chopra opened the batting for India in 10 Tests, forming an all-Delhi combination with Virender Sehwag during India's tour of Australia in 2003-04. He also made his mark as an exceptional bat-pad fielder. He writes columns for the Hindustan Times and Cricinfo. He recently wrote Beyond the Blues, out in December, his season diary for Delhi's 2007-08 championship season.