Nathan Lyon stood by the rope at a wide third man on Monday morning, chatting to Xavier Doherty. M.S. Dhoni, India's perpetrator of destruction, had just resumed the savaging of the Australian attack that blew the visitors away the day before.
There wasn't a great deal to be said - just forced smiles and shrugging of the shoulders. Suitably, Doherty's orange vest wouldn't have been out of place in a demolition zone, and he was probably thanking his lucky stars he was only carrying the water bottles.
The blame game has begun, four days into a six-week tour of India, and Australia's selection of only one specialist spinner, Lyon, in Chennai is chiefly under the pump; on a strip that looks like a drop-in from central Australia, the inclusion of four seamers is being labelled an almighty blunder, with only an outstanding James Pattinson impressing. Even India admitted their surprise at the ploy.
But as Lyon registered his own unwanted double century on day four the real question was: would two spinners have made any difference? Would Doherty, who hardly spins the ball and has an uninspiring first-class record, been bashed around any less than Lyon, or been a genuine fourth-innings headache - even on this dustbowl? Would Glenn Maxwell really strike fear into India like Ravi Ashwin and Harbajan Singh did on Monday?
As Dhoni went berserk it was arguable anyone caught in the typhoon was in for heavy treatment. Consider the India captain's record: in 74 Tests it was only his sixth century, and by far his biggest. This was a once-in-a-career outing, and Australia was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can look left and right at a set of lights all you like but if there is an oblivious lunatic hurtling along from another direction, you're a chance of being sideswiped.
And it's worth remembering that if Ed Cowan doesn't put down Dhoni's late support act, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the match could look entirely different. Their subsequent 140-run stand for the ninth wicket, with Dhoni off the leash, has all but won them this Test.
This does not make the bowlers immune to accountability. Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle were too often too short and were increasingly easy pickings and Pattinson aside, none of Australia's bowlers have caused India any lasting trouble. If Australia had picked a second spinner, who would have been left out? With Siddle and Starc considered automatic selections it would have almost certainly been Pattinson. And without him India could have batted all week. Never mind that, historically, playing two spinners here has never really worked for Australia.
The mistake was made a few weeks back when the 17-man squad was named. The absence of top-class spinners in the country is hardly a scoop but if they were serious about considering a second specialist - given the injuries to Jon Holland and Michael Beer - it should have been Stephen O'Keefe.
The NSW left-arm orthodox took eight wickets in a Shield match at Blacktown just days before the touring party was named, and is easily the leading domestic wicket-taker among spinners this season. He can bat, too. The word is, O'Keefe has a line through his name, though, because he is a chirpy, confident lad not afraid to speak his mind. The suggestion is that kind of newcomer's personality doesn't suit the team culture.
Whatever the reason, his snubbing leaves them with less options. They have to work with what they have got. Australia played their best bowlers in Chennai and were taken apart ruthlessly - they have some big decisions to make before the series resumes in Hyderabad on Saturday.