Uncapped India Board XI batsman Ambati Rayudu belted 71 not out in a stubborn display as Australia’s spinners were punished on Wednesday.
The home side recovered from 6-132 to reach 6-171 at tea on day two of the two-day game in reply to Australia’s first innings of 241.
Spinners Nathan Lyon (2-53 off 11 overs), Glenn Maxwell (1-20 off four) and Steve Smith (0-34 off four) all struggled to keep things tight on the small oval and fast outfield at Chennai’s Guru Nanak College Ground.
While Maxwell, with a wicket and a brilliant catch, helped push his case for selection as allrounder in the first Test on February 22, seam-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques gave an impressive performance by claiming 2-7 from seven overs.
Parvel Rassol was 14 not out at tea, after sharing an unbeaten seventh-wicket partnership of 39 with Rayudu who hit eight fours and three sixes from 96 deliveries.
Lyon made the initial breakthrough for the tourists on day two when Robin Uthappa (24) was brilliantly caught by Maxwell at mid-wicket.
Henriques highlighted the variable bounce on offer by removing Mandeep Singh (3) caught behind from a hook shot and bowling Abinhav Mukund (21) with a delivery that appeared to keep low.
Lyon’s second wicket came in the first over after the interval when Kedar Jadhav (1) was caught behind attempting a cut shot at 4-61.
Maxwell, after making a duck in Australia’s first innings, took a wicket in his first over by trapping former Test wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel lbw for 23 at 5-102.
Paceman James Pattinson crashed through Stuart Binny’s defences for five at 6-132.
Australia’s Michael Clarke jogged laps of the oval and without any apparent concerns in an encouraging sign that the skipper can overcome a sore hamstring for the first Test starting on February 22.