Wicketkeeper Haddin reached 21 before the close at the MCG
Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle helped Australia recover on an even opening day of the Boxing Day Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The pair shared an unbroken stand of 63 as the hosts closed on 277-6.
Earlier, debutant opener Ed Cowan (68) and Ricky Ponting (62) added 113 for the third wicket.
When Zaheer Khan removed Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey in successive balls, Australia slid from 205-3 to 214-6 but Haddin and Siddle steadied things.
The late intervention of the seventh-wicket pair gave Australia a parity that they will feel they deserve after two controversial moments at the MCG.
The touring Indians have refused to give consent to the use of the Decision Review System during the four-Test series - and twice the hosts appeared to suffer.
Both Cowan and Hussey were given out caught behind when they seemed to make no contact with the ball.
For Tasmanian Cowan, who had survived the setback of seeing David Warner and Shaun Marsh fall to Umesh Yadav (3-96) in the opening session, it brought to an end the most successful display by an debuting Australia opener since Wayne Phillips' 159 against Pakistan 1983-84.
His stand with veteran Ponting, who unfurled three trademark pulls off Zaheer and Yadav, dominated the afternoon session before Yadav tasted revenge by having the former captain caught at second slip.
The balance then swung in India's favour after tea when Zaheer (2-49) bowled Clarke and, with the next ball, had under-pressure Hussey caught by Mahendra Dhoni when replays showed that the ball had missed the bat by some distance.
When Cowan suffered similar misfortune off Ravichandran Ashwin, Australia had lost three wickets for nine runs in 19 balls.
But Siddle (34 not out) and Haddin (21 not out) ensured there would be no further drama.