Amidst a crumbling Indian batting-line, the No. 3 batsman remained at the crease through the opening day, smashing his 16th century in Test cricket.
It was his third ton against Australia but first in Australia, and the innings only ended on 123 thanks to a sensational diving run out from Pat Cummins, which brought an end to the day's play.
Virender Sehwag's tweet at the end of Day 1 of India's first Test against Australia, was perhaps most appropriate.
Starc removed Murali Vijay for a streaky 11, the recalled batsman edging another rash shot behind to Tim Paine.
They had lost 41 for four in the morning to Australia's fired-up seamers, with Khawaja taking a brilliant one-handed catch to remove Kohli after both the openers fell cheaply.
Kohli couldn't resist the temptation to drive a full and wide delivery from Cummins and was done in by the extra bounce.
India had resumed on 143 for six after tea with seamer Cummins having Ashwin edge to the slips for 25 and Mitchell Starc bowling Ishant Sharma for four.
Cummins, who had scalped Kohli in the Ranchi Test previous year with the first ball he had ever bowled to the Indian captain, has now dismissed him twice in four balls!
But after returning from a break, Hazlewood enticed Rahane into a drive and he edged to Handscomb in the slips for 13.
Australia was into the Indian tail but the tiring quicks and Lyon could not seal the deal. Rohit, who began by driving Lyon stylishly through cover, went after Cummins post lunch and smacked him for two sixes and a boundary.
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.
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 was himself run out while trying to steal a single, but not before he had made sure the bowlers had something to bowl at.