Will Pucovski and Joe Burns have both failed in their bids to impress Australian selectors after their much-hyped bat-off against India’s quicks flopped.
Pucovski went for just one, cutting Umesh Yadav to point in the Australia A tour match before Burns was caught behind two overs later by the same bowler for four.
The pair could well open together in the first Test against India at the Adelaide Oval if David Warner does not recover from a groin injury in time.
If he is fit, selectors will be forced to choose just one of the pair.
Burns is the clear front-runner with team management, having been backed by coach Justin Langer after finishing last summer as the incumbent.
However he has passed 11 just once in his five Sheffield Shield innings so far this year, and went when he tried to leave Yadav on Monday.
Pucovski meanwhile hit double centuries in two of his three innings for Victoria this summer, and is seen as a star of the future.
But his attempt to press his case didn’t go to plan at Sydney’s Drummoyne Oval, surviving an lbw appeal from a Mohammed Siraj inswinger before being caught.
The Indians had earlier declared at 9-247 on the second morning of the tour match, with Ajinkya Rahane finishing unbeaten on 117.
Australia A also lost Jackson Bird to a calf/Achilles injury, after he limped off the field as he ran in to bowl just the third ball of the day.
He will be sent for scans ahead of his Big Bash campaign with the Sydney Sixers, who also lost Tom Curran from their squad on Monday.
James Pattinson was the best of the bowlers with 3-58.