India A could not take advantage of a strong opening partnership and lost four quick wickets for an addition of just 16 runs as they ended the third day of their four-day game against Australia A at 158 for four, still needing 108 runs to avoid the innings defeat, in Brisbane on Saturday.
After Australia A were all out for 435 in reply to India A's first innings total of 169, openers Akhil Herwadkar and Faiz Fazal stitched 84 runs in 30 overs.
But then India A lost their first four wickets in a cluster -- three to left-arm spinner Jon Holland, and one to a run out -- to finish the day on 158 for four in their second innings.
Herwadkar was unbeaten on 82 while Sanju Samson was giving him company on 34 at the close of third day's play.
The Indian batting collapse began with Fazal being run out for 29 and three more wickets falling for the addition of 16 runs. From 84 for no loss in the 30th over, India A were reduced to 100 for four in the 37th over.
Herwadkar was dropped twice, first by Nic Maddinson at first slip, and then on 53, when Jackson Bird put down a tough chance at leg slip. The dropped catches apart, Australia A also missed a run out opportunity.
India A's opening partnership ended with a chaotic run out. A throw at the striker's end missed the stumps before Travis Dean, backing up, hit the other end to catch Fazal short of his ground.
Fazal had played second fiddle to Herwadkar, contributing 29 off 88 balls with two fours and a six. Thereafter, Holland struck three times.
First, Karun Nair was trapped lbw, and then Manish Pandey was caught by Beau Webster, and finally, Naman Ojha was caught by Bird.
Herwadkar and Samson then came together for an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 58. Samson faced 76 balls for his unbeaten 34, while Herwadkar had faced 188 balls and struck six fours and three sixes.
Earlier, Australia A, who began the day on 319 for five in their first innings, piled on 435 for a first-innings lead of 266 runs, with Hilton Cartwright, who was unbeaten on 99 overnight, completing his century.
He eventually fell for 117, caught behind off Shardul Thakur, who completed his 10th first-class five-wicket haul and first outside India. He ended with figures of 5 for 101.
India A: 169 & 158/4 (Akhil Herwadkar 82 not out, Sanju Samson 34 not out; Jon Holland 3/59).
Australia A: 435 (Hilton Cartwright 117, Nic Maddinson 81; Shardul Thakur 5/101, Jayant Yadav 3/95).
Image: Akhil A Herwadkar of India
Photograph: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images