India will need to score 328 runs for victory or bat all day for a draw after bowling Australia out for 294 midway through the final session on day four of the decisive fourth Test at the Gabba on Monday.
Mohammad Siraj had Josh Hazlewood caught on the boundary to end the Australian innings as rain clouds formed over the ground.
Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill then faced just 11 balls, reaching four without loss, before light rain began to fall and play was called off for the day.
Siraj and fellow quick Shardul Thakur were exceptional throughout Monday as they kept the Australian scoring rate largely under control while taking wickets at regular intervals.
Although most of the Australian batting order got starts, only Steve Smith converted and even he fell for 55 when surprised by a Thakur short ball.
Australia need to win to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but, with more rain forecast for Tuesday, India will fancy their chances of surviving for the draw they need to keep the silverware.
The highest run chase to achieve victory at the Gabba is the 236 that Australia scored to beat the West Indies in 1951.
But as India have shown since their disastrous capitulation in the first Test in Adelaide when they were bowled out for 36, they are never out of the contest.
They came back and won the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne then batted for more than day to draw Sydney’s third Test.
Smith said off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who is playing his 100th Test and needs three more wickets to reach 400 Test wickets, could play a big role on Tuesday.
“There’s a nice crack forming outside the right-handers’ off stump that he’ll be looking to aim at,” Smith said.