Shubman Gill made a brilliant century as Australia could only take three India wickets on a slow-moving day three of the fourth and final Test.
Replying to Australia's 480 all out at the Narendra Modi Stadium, India were trailing by 191 runs at stumps on Saturday after closing on 289-3.
Opening batter Gill dug in for his highest Test score of 128 in Ahmedabad, where Virat Kohli was well set on 59 at stumps and Ravindra Jadeja was still there on 16 as Rohit Sharma's side strive to win a series they lead 2-1.
Spinners Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann claimed a wicket apiece as Australia toiled in the heat on a pitch offering little encouragement for the bowlers.
Take a bow, Shubman Gill #INDvAUS #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/M8U2gneid8— BCCI (@BCCI) March 11, 2023
An opening stand of 74 between Rohit (35) and Gill ended when the captain struck a Kuhnemann delivery to Marnus Labuschagne at short cover, but the tourists were unable to make further inroads in the morning session.
The watchful Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara found runs hard to come by after striding out after lunch at 129-1, but they looked untroubled in a partnership of 113 before Murphy trapped the number three lbw for an obdurate 42.
That breakthrough came just before tea, which India took on 188-2 after Gill had swept Murphy for four to reach three figures.
Kohli started with positive intent to get the scoreboard ticking and Gill continued to look comfortable until he was struck on the pad in front by Lyon, leaving India 245-3.
Steve Smith wasted a review for an lbw shout against Jadeja off the bowling of Murphy and Kohli brought up an 107-ball half-century by working Lyon off his hip for two as India chipped away at Australia's lead.
India will look to build an advantage on day four, knowing they have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but need a win to be guaranteed to face Australia once again in the World Test Championship final in June.
Patience pays off for Gill
Gill laid the foundations with a superbly constructed innings, biding his time as faced 235 balls and wore the Australia bowlers down.
This was his second Test hundred after his first against Bangladesh last year and should cement his spot at the top of the order.
He struck 12 fours and a six, launching Lyon over the rope in the final over on day two.
Kohli looking ominous
Former captain Kohli was rock solid in defence and aggressive at every opportunity, giving himself a great chance to register a 28th Test century.
Australia will need to see the back of the 34-year-old before too long on Sunday if they are to have a realistic chance of squaring the series at 2-2.