India removed dangerous opener Matthew Hayden for 83 before Australia reached 237-2 at tea on the third day of the third Test here on Friday.
Hayden, 37, looked in ominous form, belting 13 fours and a towering six in his 154-ball knock for his highest score in the series so far.
The left-handed Queenslander also shared 123 runs for the opening wicket with Simon Katich (64) and another 79 with captain Ricky Ponting to lay the platform for Australia's reply to India's mammoth 613-7 declared.
His fine innings was brought to an end by India's part-time spinner Virender Sehwag who trapped him leg-before with a ball that dipped in sharply.
At the break, Ponting was batting on 61 with the in-form Mike Hussey on 13.
Ponting looked at ease during his 147-minute stay on a Feroz Shah Kotla track that was offering some turn to spinners, having hit nine fours so far.
The hosts, leading the series 1-0 after their 320-run win in Mohali, found themselves in an injury scare involving leg-spin veteran and captain Anil Kumble.
Kumble had to be taken to the hospital for precautionary scans after he hurt the little finger of his left hand while attempting to take a sharp catch of Hayden at short mid-on.
Australia, 50-0 overnight, were off to a steady start with Hayden and Katich putting on their highest opening stand of the series.
Katich looked fluent in his strokeplay, hitting 10 fours and completing his 10th Test fifty in the process.
Three times he hit paceman Ishant Sharma for fours and also appeared at ease against Kumble, who has conceded 53 runs off his 17 overs so far.
Katich was undone by Kumble's leg-spin partner Amit Mishra who lured him into playing a flick from outside the off stump and then watched as the ball sneaked through the gap and knocked off the middle stump.
Hayden looked determined to end a poor run of scores, having hit 0, 13, 0 and 29 in the two Tests, and played each ball on its merit.
He pulled Mishra over mid-wicket for a huge six to bring up Australia's 100 in the 29th over and remind of his earlier aggressive knocks on tours of India.
The fourth and final Test will be played in Nagpur from Nov 6-10.