Cheteshwar Pujara scored a defiant century to lead India's recovery after Australia's fast bowlers threatened to dominate the opening day of the first Test.
India's No 3 passed 5,000 Test runs on his way to a 16th Test century on a day of stifling heat at the Adelaide Oval as the tourists struggled early on before reaching 250-9 at stumps.
The Test series is Australia's first on home soil since the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa and the hosts started strongly, with India slumping to 86-5 after lunch, before Pujara's resistance and contributions from Rohit Sharma (37), Rishabh Pant (25) and Ravi Ashwin (25) helped the tourists stage a fightback.
Pujara was eventually dismissed for 123 by a brilliant run-out from a diving Pat Cummins off the final ball of the day, leaving tail-ender Mohammed Shami on six, with Jasprit Bumrah the final batsman to resume on day two.
India captain Virat Kohli opted to bat first but their top order crumbled against Australia's attack, with many of the batsman guilty of poor shot selection.
KL Rahul edged Josh Hazlewood to Aaron Finch at slip for two as his struggle for runs continued, with fellow opener Murali Vijay (11) following shortly caught by Australia skipper Tim Paine off the bowling of Mitchell Starc to leave the tourists 15-2.
Kohli's entrance was met by a huge roar but his innings did not last long as he was caught by a spectacular one-handed take from Usman Khawaja off a Cummins delivery for just three.
Vice-captain Rahane (13) was then enticed into a drive with Peter Handscomb taking the catch in the slips as India lost their fourth wicket before lunch.
Sharma was able to provide Pujara with much-needed support at the other end but was needlessly caught in the deep off a sweep for 37.
Pujara then enjoyed 41-run and 62-run partnerships with Pant and Ashwin respectively before the 30-year-old, playing his 65th Test, was run out by Cummins, who along with Hazlewood and Starc each picked up two wickets.