Skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara put on 62 runs for the third wicket after losing both the openers, steering India to 70 for two at tea on day two of the second Test against Australia, in Perth on Saturday.
At the break, Kohli was batting on 37 while Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 23 as India trail by 256 runs.
After losing Murali Vijay (0) at the stroke of lunch, India were immediately under the pump as Josh Hazlewood (1/30) knocked over KL Rahul (2) in the third over after resumption of play.
Rahul was in two minds about how to play a full delivery aimed at the off-stump and was beaten all ends up as the ball destroyed his stumps.
It brought Kohli and Pujara together at the crease, and the duo concentrated on defence in order to push back the Australian attack.
The session turned out to be an intense battle with Nathan Lyon keeping both batsmen under wraps as they tried not to play too many strokes against the off-spinner.
At the other end, Kohli also contended with Hazlewood who bowled an extended spell. The star batsman stood outside the crease and moved early on his front foot to deny any chance of a repeat with what happened at Rahul’s dismissal.
They made slow progress, adding 37 runs in the first hour of play after lunch, and their 50-partnership came up in 135 balls.
There were a few more shots towards the end of this session, but overall Australia kept a tight leash on proceedings with both set batsmen deciding not to counterpunch.
Earlier, Australia’s lower order added crucial 49 runs after resuming at 277 for six as paceman Ishant Sharma finished with 4 for 41.
Skipper Tim Paine (38) and Pat Cummins (19) frustrated Indian bowling and extended their eighth-wicket partnership to 59 runs.
In doing so, they took Australia past 300 in the 100th over. For their part, India were guilty of bowling too short again and there weren’t enough full deliveries attacking the stumps or making batsmen play.
India were content with keeping a lid on the scoring as only 29 runs came in the first hour of play. They started the day’s proceedings with Ishant and Mohammed Shami (0/80), with Umesh Yadav (2/78) starting as first change.
Jasprit Bumrah (2/53), who was India’s standout bowler on day one, was the fourth to bowl in an inexplicable tactic from the skipper.
There was certain hint of variable bounce from the pitch, but again India didn’t bowl full enough to exploit the same as the Australian tail wagged.
Finally, Yadav got the breakthrough with an over of full deliveries, knocking off Cummin’s off-stump in the 105th over. Two balls later, Bumrah trapped Paine lbw and the decision stayed despite a DRS review from the batsman.
Nathan Lyon (9 not out) stayed unbeaten for the third innings in a row as he added quick-fire 16 runs with Mitchell Starc to push Australia to a healthy total on a tough wicket.
Ishant then finished off things with two wickets in two balls, with Starc and Josh Hazlewood (0) caught behind with some acrobatic help from Rishabh Pant