India's batting problems overseas is quickly becoming a worrying trend as the visitors lost their last 5 wickets for just 11 runs in the first innings of their practice match against Cricket Australia XI at Sydney.
After the first day of the match was completely washed out due to rain, the Indian team finally took the field to play some much needed red-ball cricket ahead of the four-match Test series and was asked to bat first by the hosts who won the toss.
Batting first on a moist wicket with nip in the air and off the red Kookaburra's seam, it was the perfect scenario for the Indian top order to get used to the tough challenge that awaits them in the summer.
The Indian think tank, perhaps mimicking the combination before the first Test, sent KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw to open but to their dismay, the former failed, yet again. Rahul has been given the long rope by the management despite his constant failures but on the other side, Shaw impressed again with a brisk half-century.
Chestehswar Pujara and Virat Kohli also scored half-centuries while Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane also followed suit. While the first three were dismissed after getting to their mini-milestones each, Rahane retired his innings and his unbeaten knock will do his confidence a world of good.
But the real story from the match was the collapse of India's lower order as they succumbed from 347-5 to 358 all out. This is bound to pose a very challenging selection question to the captain and coach who have been very bullish about playing five bowlers in the starting line-up.
If India is to indeed play their five bowlers, they will have Pant batting at 6 followed by either Ashwin or Jadeja at 7 and then the bowlers which make for a very long tail; and if the away tours to South Africa and England are anything to go by, the batting definitely needs more padding than the bowling.
The practice match underlined the same fact too as Pant onward the Indian batting scored just 11 runs and the runs came solely of Pant's bat. To put this match into context, the skill and threat possessed by the bowlers on display today is absolutely nothing compared to that which will be on display from the quartet of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
Thus, this game poses a couple of pressing questions to Kohli – should he persist with Rahul and should he play a pure batsman at number 6? If he does play a pure batsman at 6, should it be Rohit Sharma or Vihari?
Whatever be the answers, India will have to make sure, in trying to attack, they don't go into the second test with a deficit like they have on every challenging away tour they have been to.
The first Test at Adelaide starting on December 6 thus promises to be an intriguing watch.