MELBOURNE:Michael Clarke and Phil Jaques led a dominating batting display before Australia declared its second innings with a seemingly insurmountable lead over India with two days to play in the first Test.
Australia declared at 351 for seven late on Friday and India was 6-0 after surviving eight overs before stumps, trailing needing 493 runs to win on a slow and deteriorating Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket.
India - dismissed for 196 runs on the second day in reply to Australia's first innings of 343 - will need to make history if it is to win the match.
Australia has six sessions to take 10 wickets on a pitch that is becoming increasingly difficult for batsmen.
The highest successful run-chase at the MCG was England's 332 against Australia in the 1928-29 Ashes series. Only three teams have ever completed a winning run-chase in excess of 400 runs in the fourth innings of a test.
Rahul Dravid (3) and Wasim Jaffer (2) will resume India's chase on day four.
All but one of Australia's batsmen got promising starts in the second innings, but none went on to triple figures.
Clarke led with 73 runs and opener Jaques scored 51, his second half-century of the match.
Brad Hogg slammed a quickfire 34 off 49 balls including sixes off Harbhajan Singh (3-101) and Anil Kumble (2-102), while Brett Lee scored 12 off 20 balls when captain Ricky Ponting declared the innings.
Clarke hit four boundaries and reached his half-century off 82 balls in the 63rd over with a well-placed shot through cover for two runs off off spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Jaques smashed five boundaries before bringing up his half-century with a sweep shot off a Kumble ball in the second over after lunch. The celebration was short lived as the opener popped a return catch to the India captain off the next ball.
After Australia slipped to 161-4, Clarke and Andrew Symonds combined to steady the innings with an 82-run, fifth-wicket partnership.
Symonds made a watchful start before unleashing a series of powerful shots, highlighted by two big sixes off Kumble and Singh, before being trapped lbw by Zaheer Khan (1-93) shortly before tea.
Khan took a battering from the Australians early before off spinner Singh took two quick wickets, having Matthew Hayden caught at long-on for 47 from 54 balls and Ponting (3) edging to Dravid at slip.
RP Singh (1-50) removed Mike Hussey for 36 when Sachin Tendulkar got behind a fast moving thick edge at first slip to leave the Australians at 161-4.
Symonds had a lucky escape while on 7 when a scorching Khan ball scattered his stumps, prompting him to start his walk back to the pavilion. Only moments later did he realize the delivery had been ruled a no ball and returned to the wicket to run a single.