Clarke responds to Ashwin efforts
Captain Michael Clarke led the fightback for Australia with a wonderfully-crafted century after Ravichandran Ashwin had put India in charge on the opening day of their Test series in Chennai.
Clarke completed his hundred in the final over of the day having been aided by a fine 68 from debutant Moises Henriques, with the pair putting on 151 for the sixth wicket.
That came after Ashwin had single-handedly reduced the tourists to 153 for five.
The off-spinner ended Henriques' stay to end the day with figures of 6-88, while Ravindra Jadeja also picked up a late scalp.
But Clarke’s unbeaten 103 meant honours were very much even despite the hosts’ initial domination.
India began the day by handing Harbhajan Singh his 100th Test appearance as well giving seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar a debut.
Australia, after winning the toss, got off to a rollicking start with David Warner and Ed Cowan scoring exactly 50 in the first 10 overs.
Warner was dropped in the ninth, Ashwin's first, when he edged to Virender Sehwag at slip – only to see a straightforward chance shelled.
He was handed another life as Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to take a tough stumping chance off Ashwin – an error he rectified when whipping the bails off to remove Cowan for 29.
Cowan had hit Harbhajan for the first six of the day moments earlier but was unable to repeat the dose against Ashwin and paid the price.
The second wicket was soon to arrive, Phil Hughes lasting 15 uncomfortable balls for six before edging Ashwin onto his stumps with an ungainly cut.
Shane Watson brought up the Australia hundred in the 28th over, with Warner moving to his half-century soon after.
Both were to fall to Ashwin shortly after the lunch interval, however, with Watson dismissed for 28 when being trapped on the back foot.
Warner was then deceived by a quicker delivery, also departing leg before wicket having made 59.
Ashwin claimed his fifth when Matthew Wade played down the wrong line and was adjudged lbw to leave Australia reeling on 153 for five.
But all-rounder Henriques, making his first appearance in Tests, showed maturity beyond his experience to help Clarke keep the score ticking over.
Australia's captain struck back-to-back fours off Jadeja but the batsman was given a lifeline shortly before tea when umpire Kumar Dharmasena failed to spot a bat-pad catch - again off the bowling of Ashwin.
Clarke made hay, crashing Bhuvneshwar through the covers for four before lofting Ashwin over long-on for six to reach his half-century in style.
Henriques also settled quickly in the final session, hitting three fours in six balls, before moving past 50 with a single in the 78th over.
Clarke rapidly closed in on a 23rd Test hundred, but his and Henriques' partnership ended when the latter was trapped in front after missing a sweep at Ashwin.
Mitchell Starc was bowled by Jadeja in the next over, but Australia would finish on a positive note with Clarke hammering the same bowler over mid-off for his 11th four - which heralded a well-deserved ton.