Chennai: With their backs to the wall after conceding a big first innings lead, India A top-order faltered once again to reach 265 for six at the end of third day's play against Australia A in the second unofficial 'Test' here on Friday.
Getting behind a 214-run lead, the India A top-order failed to convert starts into big scores as opener Abhinav Mukund (59), Shreyas Iyer (48) and Virat Kohli (45) were a few notable performers in the second innings of the four-day game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
The hosts lead by 51 runs in the second innings with a day's play left in the four-day encounter.
Earlier the visitor's added 20 more runs to their overnight score of 329 for nine before left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (4-107) completed the formalities.
India A though have fared better than their first outing when they were hot out for 135 runs.
Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (11) failed to inspire the India A batting after running himself out early, while Kohli worked hard in his 94-ball stay before being cleaned up by a Steve O'Keefe (3-83) turner.
Pujara was to be blamed for his late start from the bowling end while Mukund, who made the call for a run swiftly made ground at the other end.
Karun Nair (31) also departed soon after, scalped by pace spearhead Gurinder Sandhu (1-74) as the Usman Khawaja-led side reduced the hosts to 134 for three.
Mukund and Iyer then stitched a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership to stage some sort of a recovery but Ashton Agar (1-71) broke the crucial stand after plotting the left-handed opener's fall. Iyer followed soon after when O'Keefe got him cleaned up in the very next over.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha (30) then tried to play the rescue act with Baba Aparajith (28 not out) with a 47-run sixth-wicket stand but O'Keefe once again broke through.
Ojha struck a six and three fours in his 44-ball stay before giving a leading edge to Khawaja at slip.
Aparajith and Shreyas Gopal (0 not out) are hanging on as the hosts face a tough final day against a side hungry for a win after a draw in the first game.