Australia A 8 for 286 (Green 114*, Paine 44, Yadav 3-44, Ashwin 58) lead Indians 9 for 247 dec by 39 runs
The Indians were able to land a couple of big pre-Test blows as Australia's likely opening pair for Adelaide, Joe Burns and Will Pucovski, were dismissed for five runs between them. But Cameron Green put together a century that will continue the debate about whether his Test debut should come sooner rather than later.
Green was given lives on 24, a regulation catch to second slip, and on 78, which was a much tougher chance to Wriddhiman Saha, but overall this was the latest display to reinforce the opinion that he is the 'best since Ponting'.
In just his 20th first-class match, this was his fifth century, although there were a few tense moments bringing it up as Michael Neser was run-out, No. 10 Mark Steketee walked out, and an injured Jackson Bird was not padded up. However, facing the first delivery of the second new ball from Umesh Yadav, the pick of the Indian quicks, he drove an imperious boundary through the covers.
The only box left to tick is an increased bowling workload, but both national selector Trevor Hohns and coach Justin Langer have said he could play Test cricket purely as a batsman. Green added 104 with Tim Paine, not a bad person to make a good impression in front of, but the Australia captain had already made clear his admiration of Green.
"He's an exceptional talent," Paine had said in June. "Playing against him he was really impressive out in the middle, looked like he was in complete control of his game and really knew what he was trying to do, and to see him moving around the crease, there were a couple of little things I noticed when I was keeping against him where I thought 'he's pretty impressive', not only is he talented, but he looks like he really knows what he's doing."
After the Indians had briefly extended their first innings on the second morning before declaring with captain Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on 117, one of the main plot lines of this match was able to take shape as Burns and Pucovski walked out together. They were both making the walk back fairly soon.
At the end of the fifth over, Pucovski, who scored back-to-back double-centuries in the Sheffield Shield earlier this season, drove a catch to point, and two overs later, Burns edged Yadav through to the keeper as he tried to leave a delivery. Burns' dismissal continued his run of low scores from the Sheffield Shield where he made 7, 29, 0, 10 and 11 although, before David Warner's injury which has probably rendered any debate moot for at least one Test, had plenty of backing as the incumbent when Pucovski made his substantial case.
Depending on how the final day of this match plays out, they may get another innings and then a call would need to be made as to whether they stay in Sydney for the pink-ball game that starts on Friday at the SCG. The original idea was that the majority of the Test squad would head to Adelaide early in the week, but Langer said there could be a change of plans. They will need to weigh up the possible gains or losses of another match situation or the more controlled environment of team training.
From 2 for 5, the innings was steadied by a 55-run stand between Marcus Harris - a Test opener the last time India were here - and Australia A captain Travis Head, but the latter fell on the stroke of lunch when he bottom-edged Mohammed Siraj on to his stumps. Then, shortly after the break, Harris was superbly caught at slip by Rahane off R Ashwin to leave Australia 4 for 68.
Ashwin settled into a well-controlled spell, which also accounted for Nic Maddinson, who was given lbw on the sweep. The Indians had earlier been convinced Maddinson had edged Siraj behind, so much so that Saha even made the review signal in jest - replays did suggest a nick.
The current and future of Australia's Test team were then together again and unlike the Burns-Pucovski alliance, Green and Paine had much more success. However, Green should have gone when he edged the excellent Yadav, but Hanuma Vihari spilled it: slip catching will be a vital element of the series. Had the chance been taken, the Indians may have earned a first-innings lead.
Green lofted Ashwin over midwicket for six to move into the 40s - one of the hallmarks of his innings was the footwork against spin - shortly after having had to be on his toes to sway out of the way of a well-direct short ball from Kartik Tyagi. However, after that Tyagi appeared to lose his run up and struggled in his last two overs of the afternoon session. He received some consoling words from team-mates but did not bowl again.
Paine played very compactly until falling to a well-telegraphed short-ball plan, hooking at Yadav and being brilliant held by Prithvi Shaw, flinging himself off his feet at backward square leg.