Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan claimed a five-wicket haul, but not before Michael Hussey had steered Australia to a position of strength on the second day of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar series.
Zaheer picked three quick wickets shortly after tea was taken as Australia were bowled out for an impressive 430.
Hussey had brought up his ninth Test century with a rare inside-edged boundary, but was the last man out when he inside-edged a Zaheer delivery onto his stumps to depart for 146, his highest Test score against India.
Ishant Sharma had taken wickets periodically in the first two sessions of the day and he finished with four for 77.
By the close, India's openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had reduced some of the advantage with an unbeaten 68-run stand for the opening wicket.
Sehwag was the aggressor reaching stumps on 43 while Gambhir was on 20 when a sharp shower ended play nine overs early.
Ishant claimed an early wicket in the morning session, dismissing Shane Watson in the second over of the day.
Watson, playing his first Test in three years, added just two runs to the Australian total when he was bowled with a delivery that moved off the seam.
Hussey, who resumed from his overnight 46, was looked untroubled as he struck vital partnerships with Brad Haddin and later Brett Lee to carry Australia past the 400-run mark.
Hussey and Haddin (33) had added 91 runs for the sixth wicket with the wicketkeeper-batsman looking good for more when he was dismissed by Ishant just after lunch.
Ishant had patiently baited Haddin with a few deliveries down the corridor and then reeled the New South Welshman in with a slower delivery.
Haddin was early into his shot and scooped the ball to VVS Laxman at short cover.
Cameron White's (two) first Test innings with the bat was brief. He too fell to a slower delivery from Ishant, but the Indian attack - insipid with the exception of Ishant - failed to swing momentum their way.
Hussey put on 59 runs with Brett Lee (27), but their association was ended by Zaheer just after tea.
The left-arm paceman first bowled Lee in the second over after tea, with one that kept low and straightened a touch.
Zaheer then cleaned up Mitchell Johnson (one) with an inswinger that took the inside edge before rattling the timber and Hussey was the second victim in the same over, the left-hand batsman also falling in similar fashion.
By then, Hussey, who had thrown caution to the wind after the fall of Lee, had clobbered 15 boundaries and a six off Harbhajan Singh over long-on.
Zaheer conceded 91 runs in the 29.5 overs that he sent down.
Leg-spinner Anil Kumble bowled 43 overs and conceded 129 runs without taking a wicket, while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who had claimed the wicket of Ricky Ponting on Thursday, bowled 41 overs for 103 runs.
The Australians then had an hour and a half at the Indian batsman, but they were unable to find the breakthrough that would have given them a firmer grip on the game.
Sehwag especially looked comfortable, finding the boundary on seven occasions, as he and Gambhir reached the close.