Ravi Ashwin spun India into a strong position with three wickets in the middle session to have Australia in trouble at 92 for five at tea on day two of the day-night opening Test in Adelaide on Friday.
It was a masterful performance from the spinner as his off-breaks constantly unsettled the Australians.
After Jasprit Bumrah removed openers Matthew Wade and Joe Burns before lunch, Ashwin came into his own with the wickets of Steve Smith, Travis Head and Cameron Smith.
Marcus Labuschagne, riding his luck, was not out 46 with Tim Paine on nine, as Australia trailed India's 244 by 152 runs.
It was a tight, disciplined bowling performance from India but they would have been in a better position had catches been taken.
Labuschagne had a charmed life. An edge off his third ball fell just short of the wicketkeeper, and on 16, with the last ball he faced before dinner, he was dropped by Bumrah on the boundary.
After the break, when Labuschagne had advanced to 21, he miscued a short Bumrah delivery that was put to ground by Prithvi Shaw at square leg.
While fortune favoured Labuschagne, Smith appeared to be settling in for a long innings as he cautiously worked through 26 deliveries for one run.
But with the introduction of Ashwin's spin, the calm demeanour disappeared.
Smith was a hair's breadth from running himself out when he aborted a quick single and had to dive to get his bat back into the crease as Mohammed Shami's throw hit the sticks.
Four balls later, a straighter delivery from the off-spinner caught the edge of Smith's bat and he was well held by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
Ashwin had Head caught and bowled for seven and also accounted for 21-year-old debutant Cameron Green, who was smartly caught by Virat Kohli for 11.
Green had batted confidently in his debut innings until Ashwin found extra bounce with a short delivery and the pull shot was miscued to a diving Kohli at mid-wicket.
At tea, Ashwin had three for 27 off 11 overs while Bumrah had two for 21 off 14.