The visitors lost three key wickets in the morning session in the face of a smart spin-pace combination from the home side on what still seemed like a good batting wicket at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium.
Key middle-order batsman Michael Hussey (54), Brad Haddin and Cameron White were all cooling their heels in the pavilion after resuming the day on 102-4 in reply to India's first innings score of 469 all out.
At the break, all-rounder Shane Watson was batting on 32 with six fours while Brett Lee was on five.
The visitors still needed 96 runs to avoid the prospect of following on with just three wickets in hand.
Australia were last enforced a follow-on by England in the Trent Bridge Test of the Ashes series in 2005. Before the Ashes, the Aussies were made to follow on way back in 1988 by Pakistan.
Hussey, who top-scored with 146 in the drawn Bangalore opener, reached his 10th Test fifty with a pulled two off paceman Ishant Sharma before edging the bowler in the same over to Mahendra Dhoni behind the stumps.
He hit seven fours in his 119-ball knock.
Harbhajan Singh claimed Haddin (nine) with a flighted delivery that dipped in and crashed on to his off-stumps.
Amit Mishra then got in on the act, deceiving White (five) with a googly that knocked off his leg-stump in spectacular fashion.
Mishra (3-42) impressed in what was his Test debut, having picked two wickets Friday.