Australia paceman Peter Siddle deflated a nation of a billion people when he bowled Sachin Tendulkar for 73 in the last over, but India's fluent batting helped the tourists seize control of the first test on Tuesday.
With Tendulkar gliding effortlessly toward his 100th international century, Siddle sent a stinging full-pitched delivery that swung in late and bowled the 38-year-old through the gate to break a 117-run partnership with Rahul Dravid.
Ishant Sharma came in as nightwatchman and survived the last three balls of the second day to see India through to 214 for three at stumps in response to Australia's first innings total of 333 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Dravid ended the day unbeaten on 68 alongside Sharma, who has yet to score, with the tourists primed to build a big total on a pitch that is offering little for the bowlers.
Tendulkar and Dravid had resumed after tea on 99-2 and made hay while the sun shone, blunting an Australian attack that had been buoyed by their dismissal of Virender Sehwag for 67 shortly before the interval.
The pair dominated the hosts in a bruising session with few genuine chances but Siddle's late breakthrough was just reward for a bowler who thought he had removed Dravid for 65 a few overs earlier, only for the decision to be overturned on review.
Television replays showed the paceman's foot had crept over the crease, rendering it a no-ball, and after the fiery redhead from rural Victoria had displayed his anger by spitting on the field, he came steaming back with renewed determination.
It actually felt like he did come through five k's (kilometres per hour) quicker after that which was good and I thought he showed a bit of character coming back after what happened to get Tendulkar late in the day, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin told reporters.
It was a big blow for us to get him.
Having survived a tense few overs before tea, Tendulkar belted Siddle for six off the first ball of the final session with an uppercut over the slips to ignite the crowd of 52,000.
By the time he trudged off the ground to warm applause, the Little Master had lofted another two deliveries over the slips cordon and stroked a pair of sublime cover drives among the eight boundaries he spread around the ground.
Dravid reverted to type, playing the role of straight man in the double act, reaching his half-century off 139 balls with a thick edge that fired past home captain Michael Clarke in the slips on the way to the fence.
Tendulkar raised his 50 a few minutes later with a deft flick to mid-on off spinner Nathan Lyon, sparking a roar from the crowd, where one of the many banners read: We welcome His Excellency Sachin Tendulkar to the MCG.
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 3-81, said Tendulkar would bounce back from another near-miss. The right-handed master batsman has been stranded on 99 international centuries since March.
It will eventually happen, so there's no point in really bothering about it, he said.
Sehwag had earlier put Australia to the sword, helped along by two dropped catches. Mike Hussey grassed a diving chance in the gully early in the hard-hitting opener's innings, while Haddin later spilled an edge toward the end of his knock.
Sehwag registered his 8,000th run in the seven-boundary, 83-ball innings before Pattinson had him play onto his stumps.
Opener Gautam Gambhir was out for three when he feathered an edge to Haddin off recalled paceman Ben Hilfenhaus.
Resuming their innings on 277-6, Australia's tail-enders cobbled 56 runs for the final four wickets with paceman Zaheer Khan and Ashwin sharing two wickets apiece.
Zaheer had Haddin caught behind for 27 to end a 72-run stand with Siddle, but Hilfenhaus and Pattinson frustrated the tourists with a 27-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Lyon joined the latter to add another 15.
Ashwin ended a quick 19 from Hilfenhaus who was caught in the deep by Virat Kohli, and then bowled Lyon for six when he attempted an ill-judged sweep.
Zaheer, playing his first test in five months after a long injury layoff, took 4-77 to finish the best of the Indian bowlers. Umesh Yadav matched Ashwin's haul of three wickets.
In the end we were happy with 330. India might be a little bit in front than us in the game but it's evenly poised tomorrow if we start this first session well, Haddin added.