Led by Lakshmipathy Balaji, who grabbed four wickets for 53, the Indian bowlers gave a tough time to the Pakistan batsmen, ironically, on a track designed especially to suit the home side bowlers.
Left-arm seamers Irfan Pathan (2/35) and Ashish Nehra (2/47) also bowled incisive spells, justifying skipper Sourav Ganguly's decision to bowl first after winning the toss at the Pindi Stadium, hosting the 50th Test between the archrivals.
At the break, tailenders Mohammad Sami (batting 19) and Fazl-e-Akbar (batting 8) were fighting a grim battle to give Pakistan's first innings score some respectability.
The first session set the stage for the Indian dominance as the visitors succeeded in removing four top-order batsmen including in-form skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Four more wickets in the post-lunch session gave the Indians, looking for a series win on Pakistan soil in almost 50 years, a firm control of the match.