Hanuma Vihari hit a century and Cheteshwar Pujara made 93 but the rest of Indian batsmen struggled on Day 1 of the three-day game against New Zealand XI at Seddon Park, in Hamilton, on Friday.
Vihari strengthened his case for a place in the playing XI for the first Test starting on February as he played a sparkling innings of 101, hitting 10 fours and three sixes in his 182-ball knock.
He rescued India after a few early wickets, putting on 195 runs for the fifth wicket with Pujara, who made a solid 93, laced with 11 fours and a six.
Captain Virat Kohli didn't come out to bat in India's first innings.
India will take on New Zealand in the first match of the two-Test series, starting at Wellington on February 21.
The visitors got off to a horror start in their practice match as youngsters Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill all perished early.
All the batsmen were dismissed by fast bowler Scott Kuggeleijn as India were reduced to 5/3 in the seventh over.
Shaw, who opened the innings with Agarwal, perished in the very first over as he was caught by Rachin Ravindra off Kuggeleijn for a duck.
Kuggeleijn then rocked India with his double strike in the seventh over -- getting rid of Agarwal (1) and Gill (0) off successive deliveries as India were reduced to 5/3 in the seventh over.
For the three-day practice game, the two teams had mutually agreed that the visiting team will bat first.
Ajinkya Rahane also failed to get going with the bat, as he was dismissed by James Neesham for 18, as India slipped to 38/4 in the 16th over.
Regular opener Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the Test team due to an injury and one of either Shaw or Gill are likely to replace him to open the innings along with Agarwal.
Pacer Kuggeleijn (3/40) and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (3/72) did the damage with the ball for New Zealand.
Rishabh Pant also wasted a good opportunity to push his case for a comeback to the Indian team as he was dismissed by Sodhi after scoring just three, while Wriddhiman Saha fell for a duck.
India 1st innings:
Prithvi Shaw c Rachin Ravindra b Kuggeleijn 0
Mayank Agarwal c Cleaver b Kuggeleijn 1
Cheteshwar Pujara c Cleaver b Jake Gibson 93
Shubman Gill c Seifert b Kuggeleijn 0
Ajinkya Rahane c Tom Bruce b Neesham 18
Hanuma Vihari retired out 101
Rishabh Pant c Kuggeleijn b Ish Sodhi 7
Wriddhiman Saha c Cleaver b Jake Gibson 0
Ravichandran Ashwin lbw b Ish Sodhi 0
Umesh Yadav not out 9
Ravindra Jadeja c Finn Allen b Ish Sodhi 8
Extras (b 8, lb 6, wd 3, nb 9) 26
Fall of wickets: 0-1 (Prithvi Shaw, 0.4 ov), 5-2 (Mayank Agarwal, 6.1 ovs), 5-3 (Shubman Gill, 6.2 ovs), 38-4 (Ajinkya Rahane, 15.3 ovs), 233-5 (Cheteshwar Pujara, 71.2 ovs), 246-6 (Rishabh Pant, 74.1 ovs), 246-7 (Ravichandran Ashwin, 74.3 ovs), 250-8 (Wriddhiman Saha, 75.3 ovs), 263-9 (Ravindra Jadeja, 78.5 ovs).
Bowling: Scott Kuggeleijn 14-2-40-3, Blair Tickner 15-3-3-70, Daryl Mitchell 7-1-15-0, James Neesham 13-3-29-1, Jake Gibson 10-1-26-2, Ish Sodhi 14.5-0-72-3, Rachin Ravindra 5-1-30-0.