Sachin Tendulkar missed out on his 100th ton as James Pattinson ripped through India's top order on the opening morning of the second Test to reduce the tourists to 126 for 6 on Tuesday.
Pattinson removed openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag and then VVS Laxman while Peter Siddle dismissed Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli to leave MS Dhoni at the crease.
Tendulkar came out to bat to a huge ovation and looked reasonably comfortable on a ground where he averages more than 221 but will be focusing more on rescuing the innings rather than finally securing his 100th international hundred.
India, chasing victory to even up the four-match series after losing the first test by 122 runs in Melbourne last week, won the toss and chose to bat on a hot, sunny morning at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Paceman Pattinson, playing just his fourth Test, took just three balls to make the breakthrough when Gambhir jabbed at the ball and was caught by Michael Clarke in the slips for a duck.
The Indian lefthander made three and 13 in Melbourne and will need a big second innings to remove the question mark over his place in the side.
Sehwag looked only slightly more comfortable as Pattinson, Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus got some movement out of a pitch with a slight green tinge to it.
Siddle struck next to remove Dravid for five, the former India skipper getting an inside edge onto his pads with Ed Cowan scooping up the catch.
Sehwag was dropped by Ricky Ponting in the slips on 23 but had added only seven more runs when he got an edge to a late outswinger from Pattinson and Brad Haddin took a routine catch behind the stumps.
Laxman, so often Australia's nemesis, had an average of just under a hundred at the SCG but lasted nine balls and made two runs before another beautiful delivery from Pattinson tempted him into a late shot which resulted in a thick edge and a catch for Shaun Marsh at third slip.
That left the tourists, who have never won a Test series in Australia, languishing on 59 for four.