Shane Watson batted well in both innings of the game against India A. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Australia showed some signs of improvement with the bat but was still comprehensively outplayed by India A in the three-day tour match which ended in a draw just four days out from the first Test.
Australia resumed its first innings on 4-131 on Monday in reply to India A's 451 and was skittled for 235 at Chennai's Guru Nanak College Ground.
The home side's spinners, Rakesh Dhurv (5-51) and Jajaj Saxena (4-61), claimed nine wickets between them in Australia's first innings.
Trailing by 216, Australia was forced to bat again as India A skipper Gautam Gambhir enforced the follow-on.
The Shane Watson-led tourists reached 3-195 at stumps.
Watson top-scored in both innings, getting 84 in the first dig and 60 from 63 deliveries in the second.
Watson and Ed Cowan (53) added 104 for the first wicket on Monday - their second century partnership of the match.
Phil Hughes (19) was bowled by Dhurv in the final over before tea.
Usman Khawaja finished on 30 not out with Matthew Wade on 19.
Skipper Michael Clarke (hamstring) and David Warner (thumb) were rested from the three-day game but have been training well.
"Davey has been hitting (balls in the nets) in the last couple of days so I think he'll be alright," Khawaja told the post-match media conference.
He said simply playing a first-class game in Indian conditions was a step forward for the Australians.
"Their spinners bowled very well. They used the conditions brilliantly and they put a lot of pressure on us," Khawaja said.
"You can bat in the nets as much as you want but it's not the same. The players took a lot out of that.
"That's why in the second innings you saw us bat so well. Watto and Eddie really set it up and we batted pretty well throughout the second innings.
"It's just nice to be out in the middle and getting some game time and putting ourselves under a bit of pressure."
Khawaja says pace remains a key weapon for Australia.
While spinners Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty and Ashton Agar claimed eight India A wickets, each conceded more than a hundred runs and couldn't match the tight bowling of pacemen Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Moises Henriques.
"Pete Siddle bowled lovely in this game (1-40 off 18)," Khawaja added. "He really hit the deck hard and got in their faces and did what he does best. Pace can be as effective as spin out here."
Agar, 19, will return home on Tuesday to resume with Western Australia.
India A (1st Innings) 451
Australia (1st Innings - overnight 4-131)
S WATSON c Gautam b Dhurv 84
E COWAN lbw b Dhurv 40
P HUGHES st Gautam b Saxena 1
U KHAWAJA b Saxena 1
M WADE c Gony b Dhurv 44
M HENRIQUES lbw b Dhurv 33
P SIDDLE run out (Gony) 2
M STARC c Kumar b Saxena 11
N LYON b Saxena 0
X DOHERTY c Gautam b Dhurv 7
A AGAR not out 4
Sundries (4b, 2lb, 2nb) 8
Fall of wickets: 116 (Cowan), 117 (Hughes), 127 (Watson), 127 (Khawaja), 176 (Henriques), 182 (Siddle), 199 (Starc), 199 (Lyon), 214 (Doherty) 235 (Wade)
Bowling: V Kumar 9-3-16-0, D Kulkarni 10-2-37-0, M Gony 4-0-37-0, A Nayar 6-0-27-0 (2nb), R Dhurv 14.3-2-51-5, J Saxena 19-6-61-4
Australia (2nd Innings)
S WATSON run out 60
E COWAN c Kumar b Saxena 53
P HUGHES b Dhurv 19
U KHAWAJA not out 30
M WADE not out 19
Sundries (8b, 5lb, 1nb) 14
Total (3 wkts) 195
Fall of wickets: 104 (Watson), 118 (Cowan), 162 (Hughes)
Bowling: M Gony 7-0-30-0, R Dhurv 18-3-57-1, J Saxena 16-4-37-1, R Sharma 4-0-22-0, M Tiwary 10-0-36-0 (1nb)
Result: Match drawn