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Fifties for five India batsmen in Sydney warm-up

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – India had a useful outing on the second day of their only warm-up match before the test series against Australia with five of their batsmen hitting half centuries on Thursday against a Cricket Australia XI.

The opening day of the four-day non-first class match against an understrength representative side was washed out by torrential rain but the storms abated on Thursday.

The Virat Kohli-led tourists suffered a mini collapse towards the end, losing their last five wickets for 11 runs to be dismissed for 358, but will be pleased to have got so much time in the middle for their top and middle orders.

India’s 19-year-old opening batsman Prithvi Shaw caught the eye with a sparkling 66, hitting 11 boundaries in his 69-ball knock.

Kohli, who scored an unbeaten 61 in India’s win in Sydney on Sunday to tie the three-match Twenty20 series, also signalled his rich vein of form with a 64 off 87 balls.

The world’s top-ranked test batsman hit seven fours and a six in his knock before offering a simple return catch to seamer Aaron Hardie, 19, who finished with 4-50.

Number three Cheteshwar Pujara spent some quality time at the crease during his knock of 54, while vice captain Ajinkya Rahane pitched in with 56 before retiring out to let others bat. Middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari made 53.

Rohit Sharma, who made a comeback to the test squad after a poor show in South Africa earlier this year, did not get to the half century mark but scored a stroke-filled 40, studded with five fours and a six.

Opening batsman Lokesh Rahul has not been in the best of form and missed out again. He scored three and was the first wicket to fall for India.

The test series begins in Adelaide on Dec. 6, with further matches in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney over the following month.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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