Since they would be batting last, India wanted to gain a first innings lead or, at worst, be close to Australia's 451.

The visitors could see that there still wasn't going to be a great deal of help from the pitch for their bowlers so it would be a test of their patience and endurance to prise out the remaining nine wickets.

In the end two players stood out. Cheteshwar Pujara played patiently and resolutely while Pat Cummins was persistent and as hostile as the pitch would allow.

While Pujara found it hard to find support from his team mates, especially after the departure of Murali Vijay for 82, Cummins would have been the first to admit that he was given the freedom to operate the way he did by some fine, tight bowling at the other end.

The morning had gone India's way. It had two strokes of fortune in consecutive balls. Pujara was on 22 when Steve O'Keefe thought he'd trapped him lbw. The appeal was turned down but Australia decided to use a review.

It didn't take long for TV umpire Nigel Llong to identify that there was a big inside edge and he upheld Chris Gaffaney's decision. A closer inspection of the evidence provided by the Ultra Edge technology indicated that the ball may have brushed the pad before the inside edge back onto the pad.

It meant that Australia had no reviews left and they desperately needed one when with the very next ball Vijay was clearly caught off a bat-pad chance. Umpire Ian Gould didn't agree and India's opener was fortunate to still be there on 58.

Virat Kohli didn't win too many plaudits when he came out on to the balcony of the dressing room and applauded the decisions.

Australia's bowling coach David Saker brushed off the incident: "I know he came out and clapped. I don't know if it was directed at anyone in particular but that's the way he's been playing this series.

"I just think when you lose your two reviews it's a bit of a relief to the opposition and he probably just showed that."

Then with what turned out to be the last ball before lunch, Vijay had what Steve Smith might have called a brain fade. He came down the track to O'Keefe and was neatly stumped by Matthew Wade for 82 with India 2-193 at the break.

There was an air of excitement in the crowd during the interval for Kohli was going to come out to bat immediately afterwards. Having had scores of 0, 13, 12 and 15 in the series so far it knew that he was due for a big innings.

How disappointed they were going to be.

His six singles brought cheers all around the ground but Australia took the new ball immediately it was due. The first ball that Kohli had to face from it was pitched up by Cummins and India's captain drove loosely at it to be smartly held at second slip by Smith.

Kohli had come and gone in the space of ten overs and his series average now sat below ten.

Saker indicated that things had just been going his side's way when it came to dismissing India's captain: "It's very satisfying getting Virat Kohli out cheaply, that's for sure.

"There's not a set plan as to how we're going to get him out we just try to put as much pressure on certain batters when they come in."

Vijay's dismissal would have tried his captain's patience but Ajinkya Rahane seemed happy to test it even further. When he'd made 16 he tried a ramp shot off another Cummins short ball only to edge it straight to Wade.

The score at tea was 4-303 with the Test continuing to be in the balance as it had been throughout the first two sessions. After the break Australia had a simple plan, strangle the scoring.

They operated with a pace bowler at one end and spin at the other. Pujara was content to wait for the loose ball and if the scoreboard isn't ticking over, it doesn't bother him a jot.

This suited Australia too. Steve O'Keefe bowled just outside the leg stump and Pujara kicked the ball away, ball after ball after ball.

Meanwhile Josh Hazlewood put in a five over spell from the other end and only conceded two runs. He was rewarded in his last over when Karun Nair, who prefers a higher strike rate, was bowled by an excellent in-swinger.

Hazlewood took a break and Cummins came back on. He was now in little known territory as the first over of the spell was his nineteenth, more than he has bowled in an innings of cricket for over six years.

However, he'd been used sparingly by Steve Smith after putting in 10 overs on the second day and was quickly into his rhythm. His plan was to dig the ball in and make it uncomfortable for the batsmen.

It wasn't going to be easy getting life out of the pitch but Cummins was keen after so long out of Test cricket. He had both batsmen ducking and weaving until he eventually got one to leap up at Ravi Ashwin's face.

The ball kissed the glove of the tall all-rounder and this time Australia's review was spot on.

Saker was delighted and even surprised at just how well Cummins had bowled: "I thought last night he bowled particularly well but today he backed that up and to produce some of the balls he produced to get wickets is pretty exciting.

"Ball speed in India is a big thing because the wickets don't generate any pace but he was way higher than the expectations we had. We know what talent he is but it's so pleasing to see him go so well."

India finished the day at 6-360 still trailing by 91 runs. Australia had only conceded 57 runs in that final session one where the batsmen normally take advantage of the tiring bowlers. Their plan of containment had worked.

Saker was particularly pleased with the efforts of the bowlers after tea: "I thought it was a really good last session for us. We would have liked one or two more wickets but it's not easy prising wickets out on wickets like that."

Pujara had batted through the day to be unbeaten on 130 made from 326 balls. Cummins could finally put his feet up with figures of 4-59 against his name.