India vs CA XI, tour game: One shot for Virat Kohli’s team to warm up for Tests
Virat Kohli will lead India in a four-day game with the CA XI in Sydney. @Getty

The focus shifts to red-ball cricket for Virat Kohli’s touring Indian team as they take on a Cricket Australia XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground across four days from November 28. Rain is forecast for Sydney, however, with the city set to get up to 5omm of rainfall over a two-day period to dampen the chances of a full game.

India levelled the three-match T20I series on Sunday at the same ground with Kohli starring with 61 not out from 41 balls, a sparkling innings that took his batting average in successful T20I chases to 120.62.

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The T20I specialists have flown back to India, leaving the Test players to get some valuable game time in a rare four-day tour match. An extra day was added to this fixture with a CA XI after the BCCI requested Cricket Australia for more preparation ahead of the Test series.

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Five members of India’s Test squad featured for India A in New Zealand this month – Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Parthiv Patel – and have already linked up with the main squad in Australia in Sydney. The BCCI sent batting coach Sanjay Bangar to join them earlier than scheduled in a bid to help them acclimatise to the conditions. The five players practiced five days in Sydney last week.

Shaw, 18, scored 62 and 50 in the drawn four-day match with New Zealand A, while one-Test man Vihari made 86 and 51 not out. Vijay (28 and 60), Rahane (12 and 41*) and Patel (94) all got valuable batting time at Bay Oval.

Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami landed in Sydney from India on Sunday.

CA last week named a youthful side for this match, captained by Western Australia’s Sam Whiteman and featuring limited-overs specialist D’Arcy Short who has played 18 T20Is and four ODIs. Of the home squad, only two players have the exposure of more than 10 first-class games (Whitman and New South Wales pacer Harry Conway), though eight have featured in the Sheffield Shield.

Of these, four players were part of the Australian Under-19 World Cup side that was beaten by India U-19s I January: Jonathan Merlo, Aaron Hardie, Param Uppal and teenage sensation Max Bryant who in September smashed the fastest half-century for Queensland in List A cricket, off 23 balls, and who hastened CA XI’s recent win over South Africa in a T20 warm-up game.

The first Test between India and Australia starts December 6 at Adelaide Oval.