Sachin Tendulkar was on 124 not out as India ended day one of the decisive fourth Test against Australia on 309-5 at the Adelaide Oval.
'The Little Master' struck his 39th Test ton, and second of the series, to make sure honours were just about even at the close of play.
Virender Sehwag had earlier made 63 from 90 balls and VV Laxman a patient 51 after Anil Kumble had unsurprisingly decided to bat after winning the toss.
A flat pitch allowed the tourists the chance to build a big first-innings total that would boost their hopes of squaring the four-match series following their excellent win in Perth.
Knowing only a win would do, Irfan Pathan was pressed into becoming a makeshift opener in place of the dropped Wasim Jaffer to allow India to play five frontline bowlers.
The all-rounder contributed just nine in his new role though before becoming the first wicket to go down when he was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson.
The left-arm seamer also got the second wicket to fall, finding some extra bounce to get Rahul Dravid (18) to edge through to Ricky Ponting at second slip.
Sehwag, who had rode his luck against the new ball to bring up his half century off just 68 balls, continued to play in his usual attacking manner despite the loss of two wickets.
However, his aggressive approach led to his downfall after lunch when his attempt to cut Brett Lee only resulted in him steering the ball to Matthew Hayden, fit to return to Australia's side in place of Chris Rogers, at first slip.
The recalled Brad Hogg then had Sourav Ganguly adjudged lbw for nine to leave India in some trouble with four wickets down and only 156 on the board.
Tendulkar proved the perfect man to deal with the mini crisis though, the right-hander taking his time to get acclimatised before blossoming in the afternoon with some stunning strokeplay.
His positive approach meant he raced through the so-called nervous 90's, hitting a six and a four off Michael Clarke's left-arm spin to get through to three figures.
Laxman proved the perfect foil in a 126-run partnership, making the most of Adam Gilchrist's inability to hang on to a routine catch behind the stumps when on 37.
He was unable to fully cash in on the let-off though, falling 14 runs later when wicketkeeper Gilchrist made no mistake second time around off Lee's bowling.
Australia should've had a sixth wicket with the second new ball before the close but Hayden dropped a regulation chance off Mahenda Singh Dhoni.