India lost the wickets of opener Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara and went to lunch on the second day of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) at 90 for three.
India, resuming at 36 for one, moved to 61 before Gill edged one behind off Pat Cummins. The young India opener fell for a 65-ball 45.
Cummins then got rid of Pujara (17) in his next over, having him caught behind too with captain Tim Paine taking a one-handed, diving catch. India were suddenly 64 for three.
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari then added unbeaten 26 off 80 balls for the fourth wicket to steady Indian innings.
Australia were all out for 195 in the first innings on Saturday, the first day of the Boxing Day Test.
Brief scores: Australia 195 all out vs India 90/3 (S Gill 45, C Pujara 17, P Cummins 2/26, M Starc 1/23)