India survived a comparative middle-order slump to end the third day of the second Test with Pakistan at Faisalabad 147 runs behind the home team.
Finishing on 441-5, India earlier lost four wickets for 45 runs as calamity threatened.
However, defiance in the shape of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Irfan Pathan in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 160 runs, saw India past the follow-on mark and on to relative safety in this run-laden series.
Dravid had set India on the way when completing his 22nd Test century in the midst of a stand worth 197 runs with VVS Laxman.
Laxman, who scored 90, was the first to go, top-edging a wider ball from Danish Kaneria.
Five runs later, Dravid, just after he reached his century was run out, a direct hit being made by substitute fieldsman Imran Farhat.
Shoaib Akhtar came back into the attack to unleash a dazzling display of fast bowling in what looked potentially to be a turning point in the series. He had Sachin Tendulkar's wicket for 14 as he gloved a short legside ball while Yuvraj Singh was caught from a pull shot to fine leg from Mohammad Asif's bowling.
Four wickets fell in short time and the momentum swung dramatically in Pakistan's way.
But under the most likely circumstances Dhoni marked his arrival on the Test scene with a superb fighting century.
Once he had become used to the line, length and tactics of the short-pitched rib ticklers from Akhtar, Dhoni dealt with the problem superbly.
Off the seventh ball of his inning, he hooked at a ball from Akhtar which flew high over square leg for six runs. After only 34 balls, he had passed 50, and he celebrated his maiden Test with century after facing his 93rd ball.
It was a dazzling display in which he received admirable support from Pathan who is unbeaten on 49, although he did give a chance just before stumps which was not held.
The stand has further enhanced the prospect of another draw being played out in the sublime batting conditions.