Australian bowling coach David Saker said it was a premeditated plan for the quicks to pitch it up and lure India's batsmen into false shots.
The India number three battled a hamstring strain late in the day but was a rock even as his partners crumbled around him, pushing India to 250 for nine at the close with a brutal assault on the second new ball.
Australia have silenced Virat Kolhi and every member of India's star-studded top order bar Cheteshwar Pujara, who fought back fastidiously with an impressive century on day one of the first Test at Adelaide Oval.
"It's going to go a long way to helping win a Test but it's nothing to win a series", he said.
The 26-year-old was impressive on his Test debut in Adelaide, occupying the crease for almost two hours as he blunted the Indian new ball bowlers, all under the watchful eye of his loved ones.
Pujara was eventually dismissed for 123 by a brilliant run-out from a diving Pat Cummins off the final ball of the day, leaving tail-ender Mohammed Shami on six, with Jasprit Bumrah the final batsman to resume on day two.
"We got the wickets the way we thought we might get the wickets", he told the Seven Network.
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The visitors received the first blow in the second over when Josh Hazlewood had KL Rahul caught at the third slip.
He compiled a patient 21, putting aside disrupted preparations after the shock arrest of his brother this week for allegedly framing a love-rival with a fake terror plot.
"I can't rate it but it was one of (my) best (centuries)".
Vice-captain Rahane (13) was then enticed into a drive with Peter Handscomb taking the catch in the slips as India lost their fourth wicket before lunch.
Sharma then needlessly tried the same shot on the next ball, and this time debutant Marcus Harris comfortably collected the steepling catch, with the right-hander once more failing to capitalise on a good start.
Pujara anchored vital partnerships with young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin before completing his 16th Test century with a flick off his pads after scoring his 5,000th run in Tests.