It was the pace bowling of Zaheer Khan at the other end, however, that forced the breakthrough when his inswinger trapped lefthander David Warner leg before for eight with just 26 runs showing on the picturesque ground's famous old scoreboard.
Shaun Marsh had made 14 in four innings in the series and his poor form continued when he misjudged the flight of an Ashwin delivery which went between bat and pad, took the bails off and sent him scurrying back to the pavilion for three.
Ashwin struck again 10 minutes before lunch to remove Ed Cowan for 30, tempting the opener into a miscued cover drive that VVS Laxman intercepted with a fine low catch at short cover to leave Australia struggling.
India took the new ball five overs before the end of the day and Ishant Sharma almost removed Clarke but Laxman was this time unable to hold a difficult catch.Image: India's bowler Zaheer Khan celebrates the dismissal of Australian Batsman David Warner during their test cricket tour match against Australia in Adelaide, Australia Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
Scorecard | India vs Australia