Sachin Tendulkar led a fightback as India finished on 182-3 on day two of the first Test against Australia in Chennai.
The veteran batsman - the highest run-scorer in Test cricket - came to the crease with his team in trouble at 12-2, in response to Australia's first-innings score of 380.
And he delivered when his team needed most, scoring a superb unbeaten 71 - from 128 balls and including six fours - as the hosts finished 198 runs behind and to leave the match evenly poised with three days remaining.
The early wickets of Murali Vijay (10) and Virender Sehwag (two) heaped the pressure on Tendulkar, with Australia paceman James Pattinson (3-25) doing the early damage.
Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara (44) steadied the ship with a 93-run partnership for the third wicket before Pattinson struck again.
Tendulkar then joined forces with Virat Kohli (50 not out) to guide India to a good position at stumps.
Earlier, Australia resumed on 316-7, with captain Michael Clarke 103 not out, and set about increasing their lead.
But the gritty 54-run partnership between Clarke and Peter Siddle, which took exactly 29 overs to compile, came to an end four overs later when the former holed out to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at mid-off.
Harbhajan Singh made his first breakthrough in his 100th Test in the next over when Siddle (19) edged to Virender Sehwag at slip.
Pattinson (15 not out) and Nathan Lyon (three) added a further 16 runs in 12 overs for the final wicket before their resistance was finally broken.
It was fitting that Ravi Ashwin (7-103) would be the man who would end the innings, with the spinner capping an outstanding first two days with the wicket of Lyon.
Finishing on 380 was a good result for Australia given they were 153-5, but India's impressive rearguard means the match is in the balance.