A 73-ball hundred from Virender Sehwag and a tempered 97 from Dinesh Karthik opened up a few batting options as the Indians warmed up against ACT XI in Canberra. In a match consigned to a draw a sixth successive failure for Yuvraj Singh, chipping a full toss to the covers, all but sealed his fate for the rest of the series.
Sehwag and Karthik added 158 for the opening stand, allowing the Indians to declare at 4 for 281 in the tea break. The hosts, chasing an improbable 315, batted for 17 overs in the final session before deciding to settle for a draw at the start of the mandatory overs.
Sehwag hammered 18 fours and two sixes during the course of his 113, one where a wayward attack paid the price in the face of a murderous batsman. Unlike in the first dig, he wasn't in a mood to wait. He smashed three fours off left-arm seamer Ash Perera's first over, rocking on to the back foot and smattering the off side hoardings. He was lucky on 16, when Richard Sherlock was slow to take off for a regulation catch at square leg, but made the most of his chance with a string of crisply-struck boundaries.
The left-armer's angle was meat and drink for Sehwag, moving back and slashing wildly, but the right-arm medium pacers proved sitting ducks as well. Adam Ritchard was spanked for 10 runs in his first over, coming after the drinks break, and Ryan Bulger, the legspinner, struggled in the face of the assault. Sehwag, who brought up his fifty in 38 balls, lofted Bulger for a six over extra cover but was lucky again on 92 when he was let off by the fielder at mid-on.
He brought up his century with a flick through square, shuffling across and tucking Ritchard for four, and went ballistic soon after - slashing one through point and mowing a massive six over wide long-on. He fell trying to glide Mark Higgs' left-arm spin, angling the ball into the wicketkeeper's gloves.
Karthik was forced to play second fiddle amid the carnage but managed a few fine strokes of his own. He was let off on 19, when wicketkeeper James Crosthwaite missed a thick edge off Bulger, but was more confident after lunch. He wasn't afraid to pull, a shot that got him out in the first innings, and reeled off a few straight-drives that suggested he was rediscovering his groove. He fell three short of a century, trying to turn a full one from Bulger to the leg side but being trapped in front instead.
Bulger soon had Wasim Jaffer, sent in at No. 3, poking at a legbreak outside off but it was the wicket of Yuvraj that would have worried the Indians the most. Offered a full toss outside off, he chipped to the covers and saw Jonathan Dean pull off a sensational catch diving to his right. Barring injuries, it could probably be his last chance before the one-day series.
The game petered into a draw in the final stages. Pankaj Singh picked up his first wicket of the tour, adding one more before stumps, while Irfan Pathan did his chances no harm with the wicket of Chris Rogers, a batsman he could encounter in the third Test in Perth that starts in three days' time.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo