India struck back with four late wickets while Australia's Mike Hussey posted a defiant half-century to leave the first cricket Test at the MCG delicately poised at the close of the third day.
Australia are 179 for eight, an overall lead of 230.
Hussey, under pressure to retain his place in the re-building team after a pair of golden ducks in his last two innings, hung on doggedly for 79 as his partners wilted.
Ricky Ponting, who made 60, says today's first session is going to be really crucial now and they need Hussey and the remaining batsmen to continue.
The third day did belong to the bowlers with 15 wickets falling.