Sydney: India recovered from a bad start to reach 71-1 in its response to Australia's first innings of 572-7 declared on day two of the fourth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
The visitors lost their first wicket without a run on the board when Murali Vijay was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell Starc, but Rohit Sharma (40 not out) and Lokesh Rahul (31 not out) guided the visitors to stumps without further loss.
"We bowled well tonight," said captain Steve Smith. "Mitchell Starc was outstanding the way he amped it up and bowled a couple of quick spells. If we had a little bit of luck we could have had two or three wickets tonight."
Earlier, Australia declared at 572-7 just after tea with its top six batsmen all scoring above 50, including centuries for Smith (117) and David Warner (101).
Bat dominated ball in every session, with Smith particularly enjoying a purple-patch, scoring his fourth century in as many tests and sharing a 196-run partnership with Shane Watson (81).
His milestone matched the marks of Don Bradman (vs. South Africa in 1931-32) and Jacques Kallis (vs. West Indies in 2003-04) in scoring four hundreds in four consecutive tests in a series.
"It's been a pretty special summer for me personally, with some of the results that I've got," said Smith. "The success the team has had over the last little bit has been outstanding and we're in another good position in this test match."
Smith, promoted to the test captaincy due to Michael Clarke's latest recurrence of back and hamstring trouble, leads the scoring this series with 698 runs at an average of 139.6.
Only Bradman (715 runs in 1947-48) and Ricky Ponting (706 runs in 2003-04) have scored more runs in a series between Australia and India.
Umesh Yadav (1-137) eventually dismissed Smith for 117 caught behind when Australia had reached 400.
Watson again failed to convert a promising start into a century when he heaved a short-pitched Mohammad Shami (5-112) delivery straight to deep mid-wicket where Ravi Ashwin made no mistake taking the catch — he dropped Watson on the penultimate ball of day one.
Watson has 24 half centuries to go with only four test hundreds in his 55-tests.
With Shaun Marsh (73) and Joe Burns (58) adding half centuries, Australia set a benchmark with its top six batsmen all passing 50 in the same test for the first time — a belated strong performance in the eyes of Smith.
"The tail has really helped us out throughout this series," said Smith. "The batters have left it up to them a little bit with a few starts and left it up to the tail."
"I really wanted the batters to get the brunt of the runs this test match and they did that perfectly."
Marsh had a reprieve on nine when he was dropped by Vijay off Ashwin, and made India pay dearly before he was acrobatically caught by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha off Shami's bowling.
Burns offered good support to post his first test half century before lofting a catch to Rahul in the outfield off Shami as Australia chased quick runs to end its innings.
Ryan Harris produced a brief cameo, belting 25 off nine balls before Shami had him caught by Ashwin for his fifth wicket and prompted Smith's declaration.
On the first day, David Warner smashed 101 and Chris Rogers made 95 after Smith won the toss and chose to bat first.
Australia has an unassailable 2-0 series lead, and regained the Border-Gavaskar trophy, with two wins and a draw in the first three tests.