India grabbed three quick wickets to boost their chances of gaining the lead in the fourth and final Test against Australia here on Saturday.
The tourists were struggling at 280-6 in their first innings at tea on the third day in reply to India's 441, after losing well-set Michael Hussey (90), Michael Clarke (eight) and Shane Watson (two) in the space of 11 runs.
Brad Haddin and Cameron White were unbeaten on seven apiece at the break.
Australia, needing a win to square the series, were strongly placed at 229-2 following a 155-run stand for the third wicket between opener Simon Katich (102) and Hussey before losing their way.
The tourists trail 1-0 after their 320-run defeat in the second Test in Mohali. The matches in Bangalore and New Delhi were drawn. They have not lost a Test series since the 2005 Ashes in England.
Fast bowler Zaheer Khan provided the breakthrough after Australia resumed at 189-2, trapping Katich leg-before with a swinging yorker in his second spell. The Australian hit nine fours in his 189-ball knock.
Left-handed Hussey looked set to complete his 10th century in 29 Tests before being run out following a smart piece of fielding by debutant Murali Vijay at silly point.
Hussey pushed Harbhajan and set off for a single, but Vijay stopped the ball and flicked it to wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who whipped off the bails, with the batsman out of his crease.
Hussey hit eight fours in his 228-ball knock.
Paceman Ishant Sharma found the edge of Clarke's bat with a gem of a delivery that moved away after pitching on the off-stump, with Dhoni taking an easy catch.
Watson fell playing a defensive shot off spinner Harbhajan Singh, the ball rolling back to hit the off-stump.
India did not allow Australia to score freely with their defensive tactics as both Zaheer and Sharma hardly made the batsmen play by bowling outside the off-stump.
Australia made just 91 runs off 53 overs in two sessions.
Katich, 92 overnight, reached his fifth century in 30 Tests in the opening hour when he steered Sharma to third-man for his ninth four. He gave a chance on 94 off Sharma, but Rahul Dravid dropped a regulation slip catch.
Hussey, 45 overnight, reached his 12th half-century, and third of the series, with an edged boundary off Zaheer.