VVS Laxman battled severe back pain to play a gritty unbeaten 48 as India reached 162 for eight in their second innings, just 54 runs away from a win, at lunch on the fifth day of the first cricket Test here today.
Laxman (46 balls, 6x4), who has been the nemesis for the Australians for the past decade, played a gem of an innings but received very little support from the other end as the visitors remained favourites to win the Test.
Paceman Ishant Sharma, who put on 38 runs for the ninth wicket partnership with Laxman, hit a few plucky fours to remain unbeaten on 14.
Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar (38) and Zaheer Khan (10) started in a positive manner.
Rather than trying to defend in the first hour, both were keen on playing their shots. While Tendulkar struck some well-timed boundaries off Nathan Hauritz, Zaheer ran a couple and a few singles to keep the scoreboard moving.
Zaheer hung around for half an hour before he was done in by a straighter from Hauritz as he tried to play for the turn. Michael Clarke took an easy catch in the slip.
Then came Laxman and the manner in which he started, it never looked that he has been suffering from back spasms and was in unbearable pain for the last couple of days.
He announced his arrival with back-to-back boundaries off Hauritz. First a cover drive and then a back-foot punch through the extra cover.
The best one came with the back-foot punch off Bollinger which was hit with minimum fuss.
With Tendulkar for company, the duo added 43 runs in only 6.1 overs and it looked that hosts were taking control of the proceedings.
Tendulkar played 64 balls hitting five boundaries in the process. He was the man on whom the hopes of India's victory wrested.
It looked as if he would like to prove his critics, who have often spoken about his inability to win matches for India in the fourth innings.
But just before the first drinks break of the morning session, Tendulkar tried an ambitious upper-cut off Bollinger delivery that rose but didn't get required elevation and Mike Hussey took a smart catch at gully.
Tendulkar's wicket was exactly the shot in the arm the Aussies needed.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who played one of his most forgettable Test matches, was run-out for two when he was late in responding to Laxman's runner Suresh Raina's call for a single.
Ben Hilfenhaus ran from mid-off to mid on and threw down the stumps at the batsman's end with Dhoni couple of yards short of his ground.
Harbhajan Singh also didn't last long gloving a Bollinger short ball to Ricky Ponting at second slip.