|Tendulkar was on course for his 49th Test hundred before being trapped lbw by North two runs short [AFP]
Mitchell Johnson's five-wicket haul sparked an Indian batting collapse as the hosts slumped from 354 for four to 405 all out in Mohali.
Replying to Australia's first innings total of 428, India lost six wickets in the final session of the third day of the first Test to fold for 405, 23 runs short.
India dominated the early proceedings on Sunday with four batsmen registering half-centuries before Johnson intervened with his sixth Test five-for, ending with figures of 5-64.
Sachin Tendulkar narrowly missed his 49th Test hundred before falling two short to Marcus North.
Resuming on 110 for two, India lost nightwatchman Ishant Sharma for 18 in the morning session.
However, Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, sharing more than 25,000 Test runs between them, steadied the innings with a 79-run stand.
Dravid played with characteristic caution until he became Doug Bollinger's second victim of the match after a sedate knock of 77 containing 12 boundaries.
Tendulkar and Suresh Raina then stitched together a 124-run fifth wicket partnership, the highest in the Indian innings, to consolidate their position before Australia hit back in the post-tea season.
North trapped Tendulkar leg-before-wicket to send a groan across the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium and Johnson dismissed Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh off successive deliveries.
Tendulkar hit 13 boundaries during his 189-ball knock.
Middle order batsman VVS Laxman, nursing a bad back, came out to bat after India had lost their eighth wicket.
Raina took India past the 400-run mark but a second Test century eluded the left-hander who eventually became Johnson's fifth victim after a mature knock of 86.