Offspinner Nathan Lyon bowled Australia close to victory yesterday in the second test on the fourth day with the prized wicket of Virat Kohli to leave India precariously on 112-5.
Needing 287 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series, India slumped to 15-2 at tea, and then 55-4 as Lyon (2-30) dismissed Kohli (17) and opener Murali Vijay (20) in successive overs at the Perth Stadium.
Australia needs five wickets to level the series while India required 175 runs in a minimum 90 overs on the last day.
India won the first test by 31 runs in Adelaide last week to take a 1-0 lead.
Continuing from where he left off in his first innings, Lyon extracted sharp turn and bounce to dismantle the much vaunted Indian middle-order.
In the closing stages, vice captain Ajinkya Rahane (30) cut a catch to Travis Head at point to leave Hunama Vihari (24 not out) and Rishabh Pant (9 not out) to survive 30 minutes before close.
Kohli, who hit 123 in the first innings, pushed searchingly at Lyon, and edged to Usman Khawaja at slip. It was the seventh time Lyon has dismissed Kohli - more than any other bowler.
In the next over, Vijay pushed tentatively at a delivery that spun off the rough and played on.
Lyon, with his 7-97 in the match, extended his tally against India to 79 wickets.
Australia pacemen Mitchell Starc (1-28) and Josh Hazlewood (2-24) struck in tandem to remove K.L. Rahul (0) and Cheteshwar Pujara (4). That was after the pair had frustrated India with a 36-run last wicket stand.
"Still fair amount of work to be done. We need stay disciplined and patient," Hazlewood said. "We just need to hit the right areas (on the wicket) and five wickets is what we need."
A win will break Australia's six-match winless streak since beating South Africa in Durban in March. It was the period marred by ball-tampering that led to three players — captain Steve Smith, and opening batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft — to be suspended for 12 months.
"It feels like long time between wins," Hazlewood said. "Every time I play in Australia I feel confident we can take 20 wickets in getting a result. We need to put it to practice more often this summer."
Swing bowler Mohammed Shami returned a career-best 6-56 to dismiss Australia for 243 in the second innings. Resuming on 190-4 after lunch, Australia lost 4-6 off 23 balls with Shami taking 3-5 in eight balls.
It was an outstanding effort by Shami in his 38th test after going wicketless in Australia's 326 all out in the first innings. It was only the fourth time he has taken five wickets in an innings.