Sachin Tendulkar hit a match-saving 49 but fell just short of becoming the most prolific run-scorer in Test cricket as India drew the first game of the Border-Gavaskar series against Australia.
The tourists, in their usual indomitable style, had pressed for victory on the final day, declaring their second innings on 228 for six after notching 35 quick runs from five overs in the morning session.
That left India with a target of 299 to achieve an improbable victory in a minimum of 83 overs.
Brett Lee and Stuart Clark made early breakthroughs for the tourists, but Tendulkar enjoyed half-century partnerships with Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman to halt Australia's charge.
India finished the day on 177 for four, with Laxman unbeaten on 42 and Sourav Ganguly on 26 not out with play called off 10 overs early due to bad light.
Tendulkar was out just 15 runs shy of breaking Brian Lara's record of 11,953 runs in Test cricket.
Tendulkar arrived at the crease with India's scorecard reading 24 for two from 8.3 overs, Clark having sent Virender Sehwag packing for six while Lee accounted for Rahul Dravid (five).
Sehwag had only just been dropped by Brad Haddin, an edge off Lee popping out of the wicketkeeper's gloves.
Matthew Hayden, however, gleefully accepted his second offering, an outside edge which flew to him at first slip.
Dravid had got off the mark with a boundary straight past Lee, but fell attempting a forcing shot on the on side. Ponting snaffled a stunning catch at short mid-wicket, moving quickly to his left and holding firmly.
Those blows had all but ended India's pursuit of victory and at the same time renewed Australia's charge.
Opener Gambhir held up one end as wickets went down at the other, but then steadied the ship in the company of Tendulkar.
The pair kept Australia at bay adding 53 runs for the third wicket. But just when he looked at ease, Gambhir was bowled between bat and pad by Mitchell Johnson.
Tendulkar, needing 64 runs to become Test cricket's most prolific scorer, looked determined at the other end.
He cover-drove Clark for his first boundary and then struck a couple of blows in one over off Johnson, one through covers and the other a glance through fine leg.
Laxman, who came in at the fall of Gambhir's wicket, provided able support as the two forged a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket.
But Tendulkar fell just after tea one run short of a half-century, handing leg-spinner Cameron White his first Test wicket.
Tendulkar attempted a drive through covers, but instead struck straight to Michael Clarke at short cover.
White and the rest of the Australian team celebrated with exuberance as the India batsman walked off just 15 runs short of breaking Lara's mark.
By then, a draw looked the only possible result.
Laxman added 39 runs in an unbroken stand for the fifth wicket with bad light disrupting play on two occasions en route.
Ponting deployed only his spinners in a bid to snatch some late wickets but Ganguly and Laxman easily saw them off to ensure the match finished honours even.
Earlier in the day, Australia resumed their second innings needing quick runs and although Haddin lost overnight partner Shane Watson early, runs came at a canter.
India captain Anil Kumble dropped Haddin off the very first delivery, putting down a firmly struck return catch.
Play was held up briefly as Kumble received treatment for a bleeding finger but he eventually completed the over to finish with match figures of nought for 160.
It was only the third time Kumble has gone wicketless in a Test match.
Watson added nine to his overnight 32 and put on 75 runs in partnership with Haddin for the sixth wicket when he was bowled by Ishant Sharma.
Haddin remained unbeaten on 35, while White made a quick 18 runs before the declaration was made.