Pujara's 16th test century saved India after a disastrous start that saw them slump to 86 for five after lunch, falling to a combination of awful shot-making and quality Australian pace after captain Virat Kohli won the toss.
That is, until he attempted a quick single on Cummins' arm.
The ball clattered the stumps, leaving Pujara run out for 123 and India nine wickets down at stumps.More news: President George H.W. Bush’s Service Dog ‘Sully’ Salutes Companion At Capitol
Though they exhausted late, Australia finished the day on a spectacular high when Pat Cummins nailed a direct hit run out from side on to remove century-maker Cheteshwar Pujara, an effort rivalling Usman Khawaja's one-handed blinder to dismiss Kohli as the play of the day. "It's nice when they do stick", said the Australian number three.
In the sixth ball of the very second over, Rahul needlessly poked at a widely moving ball only to edge it straight to third slip and go for 2 runs.
Pujara went into a familiar shell, playing out 29 dot balls on the trot before the 20th and 34th over while Rohit Sharma delighted with some pristine shots, a couple of them off Cummins - a pull and a lofted inside out drive - going all the way. The Board of Control for Cricket in India refused Cricket Australia's request for the series opener to be played under lights.
"We got the wickets the way we thought we might get the wickets", he told the Seven Network.More news: 76ers G Out Indefinitely With Thoracic Irritation
Veteran Murali Vijay, in the side after young gun Prithvi Shaw suffered ankle ligament damage, didn't last much longer, caught behind by skipper Tim Paine off Starc for 11.
Usman Khawaja took a superb catch to dismiss Virat Kohli.
"I felt that our top order should have batted better but we'll learn from the mistakes and put up a better showing in the second innings".
But after returning from a break, Hazlewood enticed Rahane into a drive and he edged to Handscomb in the slips for 13.More news: OH father's punishment of bully daughter prompts outrage, accolades
It was left to Pujara, in his 65th Test, to stay at the crease and keep chipping away, building a 41-run partnership with Rishabh Pant and then 62 with Ashwin before he was run out by Cummins. They slid further when Rohit Sharma holed out attempting a slog off Lyon.