Melbourne, December 26: Travis Head conceded India had the better of the opening day of the Boxing Day Test as the tourists frustrated Australia's bowlers to finish 215-2.
Having elected to bat, India made a solid but watchful start in Melbourne as their new-look opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari settled in, the latter scoring just eight of 66 balls.
Pat Cummins eventually removed Vihari but it took until just before tea before he was able to dislodge debutant Agarwal for a hard-working 76.
Chances came and went for the prized wicket of Virat Kohli, the India skipper reaching stumps 47 not out with Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 68 to complete a frustrating day for the hosts.
"It was a tough day," Head told a media conference. "A grinding day of Test cricket and they batted well.
"We created pressure and we have seen for the whole series there hasn't been a high run-rate for the day.
"Sometimes that's Test cricket. It is not always going to be clear sailing and good wickets, and today was a case when we had to grind it out.
"We would have liked to have four or five wickets, but it is a massive morning and if we can still get them down two wickets it will be good while the ball is still reasonably hard and a couple left handers coming later on.
"Hopefully as the game goes on we will get more spin, but we have been able to restrict a lot of runs today even though we didn't get the wickets we would have liked.
"It was disappointing to leave that chance but it happens."
The pitch offered little assistance to Australia's bowling attack, with Cummins the only one to enjoy any reward.
"Cummins led from the front," Head added. "He bowled hard and aggressive, used his bouncer well, and extracted something from the wicket. And he put pressure on Indian batsmen all day.
"I thought it would offer a little bit more than it did in the first couple hours. We thought it would offer more life leading into it. If you hit the wicket the pacers were able to get some pace off it but in other parts they weren't able to."