Josh Hazlewood's five for 68 on debut helped Australia battle back into the second Test against India but the contest remained in the balance when the hosts finished the second day in Brisbane on 221 for four.
India, who had been looking to drive home their advantage after taking charge on day one at the Gabba, could only add 97 runs to their overnight tally before being dismissed for 408 at lunch.
Australia lost three wickets in the second session and it was left to stand-in skipper Steve Smith to steady the innings with a half century to add to the unbeaten knocks of 162 and 52 he made in the first Test victory in Adelaide.
The 25-year-old, deputising for the injured Michael Clarke for the remainder of the series, was 65 not out when stumps were drawn early because of bad light, with Mitchell Marsh alongside him on seven.
All-rounder Marsh was unable to field let alone bowl after suffering a hamstring injury on Wednesday, one of a slew of Australians who ended the sweltering first day of the contest in the treatment room.
"We all came out and bowled to our plan today and picked up the last six wickets for just about where we wanted them, so things are good," Hazlewood said.
Six of India's wickets were caught behind, giving Brad Haddin a share of the Australian record for catches by a wicketkeeper in a Test innings.