In 131 years of Australian Test cricket, only Bob Massie has cast a debut spell more bewitching than Jason Krejza’s truly incredible 8-215 to drag Australia back into contention on day two of the final Test against India in Nagpur.

A mighty effort was required for the tourists to manufacture a position from which to win this match after losing the toss – and 25-year-old Krejza, with a measly 43 first-class wickets at 50.09 before this innings, provided it.

The Indians were almost unassailable at 5-422 with Sourav Ganguly (85) and Mahendra Dhoni (56) at the crease for the whole of the morning session.

But the departure of five red-faced batsmen for 19 runs in 49 balls in the hour after lunch, all to Krejza, spun the Indians out for 441, and the Australians found themselves batting with more than half the day’s overs still remaining.

By stumps they had powered to 2-189, led by a bold Simon Katich (92no) and a watchful Mike Hussey (45no).

India’s only real moment of joy in the field was the wicket of Ricky Ponting, bowled by a sharp Harbhajan Singh off break to grant the bowler his 300th Test wicket, but the day belonged definitively to Krejza.

“Really I was just trying to keep my emotions under control,” Krejza said of his haul.

“When the five-for came around that’s the moment I will always remember, with a great catch from Michael Clarke. I thought I bowled better today than yesterday – I’ve started really well in Test cricket.

“After getting five, Binga (Brett Lee) said ‘you could get eight-for here’ and I believed that, I kept going and I got a bagful.”

Among all Australian debut performances only Massie’s famous double of 8-84 and 8-53 against England at Lord’s in 1972 surpassed Krejza, whose return was also the eighth best debut return in all Tests.

An accurate measure of the topsy-turvy nature of Krejza’s effort came via the fact that his full analysis of 43.5-1-215-8 also pouched the record for most runs conceded in an innings by a bowler on debut, surpassing Omari Banks’ 3-204 against Australia at Barbados in 2003.

Krejza opened the bowling today so Ponting could swing his paceman around to opposite ends, and the sight of first-up spin nearly did for Dhoni.

Driving hard at a top spinner, he squeezed the ball off bat, boot and possibly ground for Krejza to take a tumbling return catch, whereupon the third umpire ruled Dhoni not out.

As far as chances were concerned, that was that for the rest of the session, for Ganguly and Dhoni were able to build their tallies sensibly and without resorting to the extravagances that cost several Indian batsmen their wickets on day one.

They were eventually separated soon after lunch when Dhoni tried to paddle Krejza around the corner and was bowled behind his pads.

Ganguly was well on his way to joining Greg Chappell and Mohammed Azharuddin as players to begin and end their Test careers with a century, after making 131 against England on his debut at Lord’s in 1996.

But Krejza struck the day’s major blow by persuading Ganguly to snick a well-pitched off break that spun across him.

Michael Clarke took a fine one-handed catch at slip, and the exposed tail did not hang around.

Zaheer Khan aimed a big drive at another off break and was bowled via an inside edge, and next ball Amit Mishra was dumbfounded by a straighter delivery that beat his outside edge on the way to off stump.

Last man Ishant Sharma flicked Krejza to short leg where Katich held his second sharp chance, leaving the adopted Tasmanian to deservedly lead his teammates from the field after writing a memorable new chapter in the history of Australian spin bowling.