India offspinner Harbhajan Singh claimed two quick wickets to frustrate Australia's bid to post a big second innings total on the third day of the first cricket test Friday.
Singh removed Matthew Hayden for 47 in the 11th over of the day to break up an ominous opening partnership with Phil Jaques, and dismissed captain Ricky Ponting two overs later to put the Australians on the back foot.
Despite the early losses, Australia went to lunch at 135 for two and a 282-run overall lead. Jaques was unbeaten 49 with Mike Hussey on 28 at the break.
India was dismissed for 196 runs on the second day in reply to Australia's first innings total of 343.
Hayden, following a hundred in the first innings, was aggressive against India's fast bowlers Friday and stroked six boundaries from 54 balls before he was caught at long-on by Saurav Ganguly off Singh's slower delivery.
Hayden and Jaques looked dangerous in an 83-run stand and were confidently timing powerful shots to the boundary before the Indian breakthrough.
Ponting lasted just seven balls for his 3 runs before Singh induced an edge that was comfortably snapped up by Rahul Dravid at first slip, leaving Australia at 89-2.
At lunch, Singh had 2-23 from 10 overs. Anil Kumble, who took a five-wicket haul in the first innings, was wicketless in seven overs and seamer Zaheer Khan conceded 63 runs in 12 overs.
On Thursday, Stuart Clark (4-28) took two wickets from three balls either side of the tea break and Brett Lee (4-46) cleaned up the tailend to close out an outstanding innings for the Australian bowlers and set India the unenviable task of chasing a big total on a slow and deteriorating Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket.
After having Yuvraj Singh caught behind for a duck on the last ball before tea, Clark completed his over after the break by trapping Mahendra Dhoni lbw without conceding a run.
Singh paused at the wicket for lengthy period before walking from the crease and will face a disciplinary hearing with match referee Mike Proctor later Friday after being charged with showing dissent toward umpire Billy Bowden's decision.
Singh could be fined his match fee if found guilty.