Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja grabbed a five-wicket haul on his international return to help bowl out Australia for 177 on Thursday's opening day of the first Test.
Jadeja returned figures of 5-47 and fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets as the Australian innings folded in the final session on a turning Nagpur pitch.
Marnus Labuschagne (49) and Steve Smith (37) had launched a fightback with their third-wicket 82-run stand after losing openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner early in the day.
Peter Handscomb, who made 31, and wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey, who hit 36, also put on a partnership of 53 before Ashwin ended Carey's spell to record his 450th Test wicket.
Jadeja's double strike on successive balls soon after lunch rocked the tourists as he sent back Labuschagne and then trapped Matt Renshaw for a first-ball duck.
The left-arm orthodox spinner, back in the Indian side after a knee injury, later bowled Smith with a delivery that went through his bat and pad.
Ashwin and Jadeja kept up the charge to get into the Australian tail when the tourists took tea at 174-8, and added just three runs in the final session.
Earlier, seamer Mohammed Siraj struck on his first ball to get Khawaja trapped lbw for one with a delivery that swung in to the left-hander, after the tourists elected to bat at the start of the four-match series.
An appeal was turned down by the on-field umpire but India successfully reviewed the decision, much to the delight of coach Rahul Dravid, who pumped his fists in the pavilion.
Mohammed Shami raised the noise in the next over when the seamer bowled the left-handed Warner for one, coming around the wicket to send the off-stump cartwheeling.
Australia, led by Pat Cummins, controversially dropped left-hander Travis Head and gave off-spinner Todd Murphy his international debut.
Rohit Sharma's India handed Test caps to Twenty20 sensation Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat.