Put in to bat after Australia captain Meg Lanning won the toss, Mandhana raced to her half-century off 51 deliveries in the opening hour and despite slowing after the drinks break was unbeaten on 64 at the end of the session.
Puman Raut was the other not-out batter for India, on one. Shafali Verma was the lone Indian batsman to get out, caught by Thalia McGrath for 31.
Australia named four debutants for the match in Annabel Sutherland, Darcie Brown, Georgia Wareham and Stella Campbell.
Darcie and Annabel had nervy starts to their Test careers, the former going for 0-28 off her four overs while 19-year-old Annabel had a couple of fumbles in the field including dropping Shafali when the Indian opener was on 25.
Annabel’s spill was the third time Shafali rode her luck in her knock, with edges earlier in her innings twice eluding Lanning at first slip as Australia pressed for a wicket.
India were 0-70 at drinks with Smriti the main aggressor, hitting 11 fours on her way to her third Test 50.
After the drinks break, Australia turned to spin to stem the runs with Sophie Molineux and Ashleigh Gardner operating in tandem.
Sophie eventually got the breakthrough for Australia, luring Shafali to chance her arm once too often with the Indian opener slicing a shot to Tahlia at mid-off to fall for 31. Sophie ended the session with 1-18 from nine overs.
India have selected two debutantes in Yastika Bhatia and Meghna Singh, with the Test the fourth match of the multi-format series.
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