Sydney: Indian batting stuttered on a rain-marred opening day before Virat Kohli's half century took the visitors to 162 for four against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in a three-day practice match here on Monday. (Agencies)
Of the 50 overs possible amid rain and gloom at the Manuka Oval, the visitors, after electing to bat, had their last remaining pair of recognised batsmen -- Kohli (55) and Rohit Sharma (38) -- at the crease.
The 78-run fifth wicket stand between the two had redeemed the situation somewhat for the Indians after losing the top order rather cheaply.
This is India's second and final practice game before the Test series against Australia starting December 26.
None of the four batsmen dismissed -- opener Virender Sehwag (12), Gautam Gambhir (24), Ajinkya Rahane (15) and VVS Laxman (15) -- managed to make an impression eye even though the home attack and the conditions were not overtly hostile.
Left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger alone was a bowler of reputation but it was the other bowlers who tested the nerves and technique of the Indians.
Virender Sehwag played at tall Peter George towards gully and was brilliantly held low to the ground by Alex Doolan at 20
Gambhir and Rahane stayed put for the next 12 overs to push the score to 51 for one before a fresh spell of rain drove the players indoors.
The match later resumed for one over before the umpires considered the light not good enough for the play to continue, much to the frustration of the players.
Fortunately, the light improved and the game resumed but the Indians found themselves in a hole.
Rahane drove wildly at a widish delivery from left-arm paceman Josh Lalor and was caught by Usman Khawaja in the slips.
Gambhir, who largely played a forgettable knock, edging and missing and even receiving a painful blow on to his fingers, tried to push a delivery from Jason Behrendorff and found his stumps rattled.
V.V.S. Laxman (15) looked in good enough nick before he tried to drive an over-pitched delivery from left-arm spinner Jon Holland and played all over it.
Bollinger, who went wicket-less, left the field in the final session but came back in the last quarter of the final hour.
Kohli and Sharma then played solidly and essayed a few impressive drives to push India to 162 by close. The fact that two spinners, Jon Holland and Cameron Boyce, operated from the two ends also helped their cause.
Kohli reached his half century with a scurried single to mid-off against Holland in the second last over the day's play.
Earlier, the game could only begin after lunch due to overnight rain which persisted till early morning on Monday.
Among the notable absentees from the 13 playing from the visitors' side are Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, besides two medium-fast bowlers, Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar.
It's an open-ended fixture with 13 members turning up for both sides. While Indians are keen to test themselves before the first Test, the hosts have quite a few Test regulars and hopefuls trying to steel up for future engagements.
The big names in the Chairman's XI include skipper David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Philip Hughes and Doug Bollinger.
Sydney: Indian batting stuttered on a rain-marred opening day before Virat Kohli's half century took the visitors to 162 for four against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in a three-day practice match here on Monday.