Manoj Tiwary staked a claim for a berth in the Indian Test team with a determined knock of 93 that helped India 'A' recover from a wobbly start to a healthy 369 for 9 on Day 1 of the three-day tour game against the England in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Tiwary's feat came after opener Abhinav Mukund and comeback man Yuvraj Singh, also in the running for the No 6 slot in the Indian squad, hit quick-fire half centuries after India 'A' skipper Suresh Raina elected to bat after winning the toss at the Brabourne stadium.
The Bengal captain was looking well-set for a deserving century, but tried to play across against England pacer Tim Bresnan and lost his stumps.
He faced 150 balls and hit 11 fours in his 202-minute knock.
At stumps, R Vinay Kumar (25) and last-man Parwinder Awana (11) were at the crease.
Tiwary, who came in at the fall of Raina's wicket, with India 'A' struggling at 140 for four, pulled the innings together after the loss of two more wickets at 190 in 47 overs.
The middle-order batsman put on a century partnership with Irfan Pathan, who scored 46 in 113 minutes.
The duo put on a stand of 110 for the seventh wicket in 168 balls, with Pathan striking five fours and two sixes, to take the team past the 300-mark.
Earlier, Mukund hit a quick-fire 73, inclusive of 16 fours, after living dangerously at the start, while Yuvraj, dropped first ball by Samit Patel at square leg off Tim Bresnan, slammed four sixes against the spinners and seven fours in his 59 before both these left-handers were claimed by England's main spinner Graeme Swann on either side of lunch.
Yuvraj struck seven sweetly-timed fours and four well-hit sixes, two each off left-arm spinner Patel and Swann, in his 80-ball 59, before the latter exacted revenge by deceiving him in flight and having him stumped.
Yuvraj, eager to bag the No 6 spot in the Indian Test batting line-up for the upcoming four-Test series against the visitors, impressed the four selectors present before his impetuosity cost him his wicket. He was stumped while trying to clout Swann, who bowled beautifully, for a second six in the same over.
The other top-order batsmen, including Raina, who is also in the running for the No 6 slot, flopped.
The home team lost Mukund, Murali Vijay (7) and Ajinkya Rahane (4) in their first session total of 113 and then surrendered the wickets of Raina (20), Yuvraj and Wridhiman Saha (20) in the second.
Pathan was out leg before to Swann after tea, giving the England off-spinner his third wicket after a lengthy stint of near-continuous bowling barring a gap for change of ends.
Bresnan then got rid off Tiwary and next-man Ashok Dinda off successive balls to be on a hat-trick. He ended up with impressive figures of 3 for 59 in 20 overs, having earlier taken the wicket of Rahane, while Swann claimed three for 90 in 23 overs.
The other successful bowlers were Samit Patel, who sent back Raina, and James Anderson, who got rid off Wridhman Saha.
The England eleven was handicapped as pacer Steven Finn sustained an injury in his right thigh while fielding in the opening session.
In the morning session Mukund, who had a streaky start to his innings before settling down to hit some pleasing shots, struck 16 fours in only 83 balls before Swann dismissed him off what proved to be the last ball before lunch.
India 'A' (1st innings):
Abhinav Mukund c Bell b Swann 73
Murali Vijay run out 7
Ajinkya Rahane c Pietersen b Bresnan 4
Yuvraj Singh st Prior b Swann 59
Suresh Raina c Bell b Patel 20
Manoj Tiwary b Bresnan 93
Wriddhiman Saha lbw b Anderson 20
Irfan Pathan lbw b Swann 46
Vinay Kumar not out 25
Ashok Dinda b Bresnan 0
Parvinder Awana not out 11
Extras: (B-1, LB-9, W-1) 11
Total: (for 9 wkts in 90 overs) 369
Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-57, 3-113, 4-140, 5-168, 6-190, 7-300, 8-347, 9-347.
Bowling: Anderson 17-4-65-1, Finn 4-1-22-0, Bresnan 20-6-59-3, Trott 5-0-21-0, Swann 23-6-90-3, Patel 20-4-95-1, Pietersen 1-0-7-0.
Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters