Entering the fray with Australia in trouble at 5-153 in Chennai, Moises Henriques could hardly have picked a tougher time to make his Test debut.

The 26-year-old NSW allrounder said his legs felt like jelly as he walked out on Friday to begin the much-anticipated Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.

The Portugal-born right-hander says skipper Michael Clarke, who scored an unbeaten 103 to guide his side to 7-316 at stumps, was a great calming influence.

Henriques scored a crucial 68 in a sixth-wicket stand of 151 with Clarke. The first-gamer fell late in the day lbw to spinner Ravi Ashwin after missing a big swipe to the legside.

"Luckily after the first ball the nerves died down a little bit but they were going through the roof waiting to bat," Henriques said.

"Then when that wicket fell and having to walk out the legs started to turn to jelly. But after that first ball and after the first run things started to calm down a little.

"Michael wasn't too different to when I've batted with him before in Shield cricket. He likes to smile out there and we enjoy our cricket and enjoy batting together."

The pitch was starting to wear within minutes of the start with bowlers' footmarks evident in the red dust.

"The footmarks and the loose ground out there is something like a three-day wicket. Even back home in Australia you wouldn't see that on day three or four," Henriques said.

"To have that loose soil out there, come days four and five the ball's going to start playing some tricks."

Henriques said he was disappointed to be dismissed late in the day, followed by the wicket of Mitchell Starc for three.

"I really wanted to get through the day and make sure we finished five wickets down," he said.

"But if someone said you're going to have 60-odd on debut I'd take it."