The visitors once again turned to Michael Clarke (91) after slumping to 63 for four, with the 31-year-old putting on 145 with Matthew Wade for the fifth wicket but, after Wade went for 62, the lower order failed to fire as Australia lost their final four wickets for just 29 runs.
And with little chance of numbers 10 and 11 James Pattinson and Xavier Doherty adding to the total Clarke brought them in so his bowlers could take advantage of conditions for the final three overs of the day which saw India finish five without loss at stumps.
After the visitors won the toss, Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled David Warner (six) with a delivery which cut back into the left-hander, then trapped Ed Cowan (four) lbw with a ball which may have pitched outside leg stump.
That left Australia 15 for two, with Phil Hughes and Shane Watson at the crease. The pair effected a mini-recovery, with the left hander playing some eye-catching late drives off the back foot, but Watson (23) then fell lbw attempting to pull a ball which kept a little low with the score on 57.
Hughes (19) followed, caught behind at the second attempt by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin, before Wade and Clarke began the Australian recovery.
Australia started the third session much as they ended the second, as the duo moved the score past 200 in the 65th over. They could add just eight however before the hosts made a much-needed breakthrough. Wade cut one which was possibly too close to his body and was caught by Kumar at point for a 116-ball 62.
A sixth wicket fell when Ravindra Jadeja got one to turn away from Moises Henriques, who, playing to leg, missed the ball completely and Glenn Maxwell could make just 13 before he edged to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Peter Siddle was then soon walking back to the pavilion as he was caught on the crease by a low one from Harbhajan Singh for a 14-ball duck, leaving the visitors 236 for eight.
Clarke finally departed looking to up the rate with the tail, swinging across the line to Jadeja whose delivery kept low and hit the stumps.