SYDNEY - India crept to lunch at 73 for one chasing an unlikely 349 for victory as Australia's bowlers ramped up the pressure on a turning pitch on the fifth day of the fourth and final test on Saturday.
The hosts declared their second innings closed at 251-6 before the start of play, leaving their bowlers the entire final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground to dismiss the tourists and take the series 3-0.
Lokesh Rahul was the one batsman to fall for 16 and his fellow opener Murali Vijay, who had made 35, and Rohit Sharma (19) will resume after the break still 276 runs from their goal.
India had promised to go for victory despite the highest successful fourth innings run chase in a test at the Sydney Cricket Ground being the 288-2 scored by South Africa in 2006.
The first 56 minutes went reasonably well as Vijay and Rahul put on 48 runs before off-spinner Nathan Lyon claimed the first of what Australia hopes will be a bagful of wickets on a humid day.
Rahul, who grabbed his maiden test century in India's first innings 475, was deceived by a bit of bounce and the ball clipped his glove and looped into the hands of David Warner at backward short leg.
Rohit was centimetres away from a golden duck on the following delivery but the third umpire decided he had just got his foot back into the crease before wicketkeeper Brad Haddin broke the stumps with a ball that had drifted past his bat.
There followed half an hour of scoreless siege as Lyon and paceman Josh Hazlewood, who was starting to get some reverse swing, bowled six straight maidens.
Rohit finally broke the drought to get off the mark with a single off Lyon but the disciplined Hazlewood conceded just one run in his five-over spell.
A four and a six on consecutive balls off Lyon was a reminder that Rohit can bat a bit when he throws off the shackles but there were few expansive shots as he and Vijay safely saw out the first session.