Michael Hussey was not out on 79, while Ponting scored 60. For India, Umesh Yadav took 4/49.
Australia Second Innings
12:30 p.m. An intriguing day - where 15 wickets fell - of Test match cricket ends here at MCG, with Australia 179 for eight, leading India by 230. Michael Hussey remains unbeaten on 79 while young Pattinson is giving him company with 6.
12:15 p.m. Ashwin finally gets one! The offspinner bowls a carom ball that thumps into Nathan Lyon's pads. Umpire Erasmus takes just a few seconds to raise his finger, sending the Aussie No. 8 back for a duck.
P Siddle c Dhoni b Yadav 4 (22)
12:05 p.m. India get seventh! Umesh Yadav gets his fourth wicket as he induces a thick outside edge from Siddle's bat, which was snaffled beautifully by diving Dhoni.
P Siddle c Dhoni b Yadav 4 (22)
11:30 a.m. Double blow! Zaheer sends Haddin back into the hut after Ponting. As they say, one wicket leads to another. Haddin's poke first finds an edge and then Laxman's hands in the second slip. The pendulum is swinging again and is in the balance with Australia 151 for six, leading by 202 with 15 overs left in the day's play.
11:25 a.m. Finally a breakthrough! Ponting, after a century stand with Hussey, flashed at a wide delivery from Zaheer, perishing at gully to Sehwag.
R Ponting c Sehwag b Khan 60
10:55 Punter's fifty, followed by Hussey's. The former Australian captains brought up their half-centuries in 84 and 73 balls respectively. The lead is inching closer to 200 now and becoming worrisome for India with every added run. It's 124 for four, lead of 175.
10:35 100 up for Australia! And the lead is now 151. India need a wicket or two now or the Hussey-Ponting pair may take the game away from the visitors.
9:55 a.m. Tea! Australia must be breathing much better with that unbroken 54-run partnership between Hussey and Ponting that helped them recover from 27 for four to lead by 132 runs. India, though, are not out of it. Last session should be interesting.
9:50 a.m. Fifty partnership! Hussey and Ponting have settled those jangling nerves in the Australian dressing room. What it also means is that the lead has touched 130 now with tea just around the corner.
8:57: Ishant joins the party. And another played-on dismissal. This time it's captain Michael Clarke. The 11th wicket to fall on day three and just half the day's play has gone by. This match is nicely set up now with Australia 40 for four, leading by 91.
Michael Clarke b Sharma 1 (4)
8:50 a.m. Cleaned up! Yadav once again does the damage as Marsh plays on a fullish delivery while attempting a cover drive. India right back in it with Australia 26 for three; lead is 77.
Shaun Marsh b Yadav 3 (11)
8:30 a.m. Double strike! Umesh Yadav continues to impress with not one but two wickets in an over. First he got Warner playing on and then had Cowan who misjudged the line and was declared lbw padding up. Australia 17 for 2, lead by 68.
EJM Cowan lbw b Yadav 8 (17)
David Warner b Yadav 5 (27)
India First Innings
7:12 a.m. All over! Ashwin's valuable knock comes to an end as Haddin gets his third wicket. A 51-run lead for Australia but a pat on Ashwin's back for the resistance he offered as the visitors lost seven wickets for 68 runs in the session. Hilfenhaus starred with five for 75, his best Test figures. Players taking lunch.
R Ashwin c Haddin b Siddle 31 (35)
6.45 a.m. A typical tailender dismissal. Zaheer had a wild slog to a full-pitched Pattinson delivery that crashed into the stumps.
Zaheer Khan b Pattinson 4 (6)
6:40 a.m. Five for Hilfenhaus! Nightwatchman Ishant Sharma's vigil finally ends after 69 balls and 11 runs, caught behind by Haddin attempting a rash drive on the up. India's nightmare on day three continues: 254 for eight, still trailing by 79 runs.
Ishant Sharma c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 11 (69)
6:25 a.m. India's morning is getting worse! After losing three top-order batsmen in the first hour of play, India lost their skipper Dhoni as soon as the new ball was taken. Dhoni was tempted to fish outside off-stump by a driving-length delivery from Hilfenhaus, which moved away slightly after pitching, taking a thick outside edge before going to Mike Hussey at gully.
M Dhoni c Hussey b Hilfenhaus 6
6 a.m. Kohli goes! Drinks! Clearly Australia's hour. First Dravid, then Laxman and now Kohli sent back in the hut, and just 24 runs conceded by Australia. Bowling the last over before the second new ball becomes available to Australia, Hilfenhaus got one to swing from just outside off-stump and Kohli's nervous poke found the edge. Match surely in the balance now.
V Kohli c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 11 (21)
5:32 a.m. Australia on top! Siddle gets Laxman in his first over of the day. The Hyderabadi took 20 balls to get off the mark but failed to read an outswinger from Siddle, edging it straight to Haddin. India have slipped from 214 for two to 221 for five.
VVS Laxman c Haddin b Siddle 2 (22)
5:15 a.m. The Wall is breached early! Rahul Dravid, who was a little edgy throughout his stay on Tuesday, is dismissed by a peach of a delivery by Ben Hilfenhaus on second ball of the day on Wednesday. The ball swerves in before changing its direction slightly after pitching to knock Dravid's off-stump.
4:30 a.m. We are here and so is day three of the Boxing Day Test, which could hold the key to India's search for history and Australia's path to redemption.
Rahul Dravid's stay is an absolute must for India and will give confidence to Australia's nemesis VVS Laxman and other two recognized batters Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni to take India into lead.
Aussies have nothing to lose and will hope to dislodge nightwatchman Ishant Sharma early, but Dravid and Laxman's wickets will be the most prized ones on Wednesday.
Undoubtedly the best start India had in years on tours outside the subcontinent. Thanks to Zaheer Khan, whose four-wicket haul helped bundle the Aussies out for 333 on Tuesday, and to Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, who scored fifties to take India within 119 runs of overhauling the hosts with seven wickets standing.
Yes, it was disappointing to see Sachin miss out yet again on his 100th international century but his upper cuts were a delight to watch, which lit up the MCG on Tuesday.
Day 2 Roundup
Despite the disappointment of losing Sachin Tendulkar - who was looking good for his 100th international century - in what turned out to be the last over of the day on Tuesday, India finished the second day of the Boxing Day Test on a high, posting 214 for 3, reducing the first innings deficit to 119.
Tendulkar (73) shared a 117-run stand with Rahul Dravid, who remained unbeaten on 68 with nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (0), after India lost Virender Sehwag (67) with the score at 98.
Earlier on Tuesday, Zaheer Khan (4 for 77) got India off to a rousing start, taking the wickets of both the overnight batsmen Brad Haddin (27) and Peter Siddle (41), which allowed the visitors to wrap up Australia's innings for 333.