Canberra: Explosive opener Virender Sehwag made a strong case for a Test recall with a typically swashbuckling century on the final day of India's three-day tour match against an Australian Capital Territory XI at Manuka Oval here on Saturday.
And the man Sehwag is likely to replace in the third Test at the WACA Ground, Yuvraj Singh, again failed to reach double figures as his form woes mounted.
The match ended in a draw, India declaring its second innings at tea at 281 for four, an overall lead of 314, with the ACT 60 for 3 in reply when both teams agreed to an early stumps.
After making a scratchy 24 in the first innings, Sehwag capitalised on a flat pitch and modest attack to reach his hundred in well under a session, facing just 73 balls in the process.
Sehwag, who was considered close to a recall for the controversial second Test in Sydney but hasn't played at the top level for over a year, made his intentions clear when he opened the day by belting three boundaries from the first over.
He continued in that vein before being caught behind just minutes before lunch for 113, ending a frenetic 158-run opening partnership with Dinesh Karthik, who narrowly missed a century.
Sehwag hit 18 fours and two sixes and faced only 78 balls to finally give the Indians something to smile about at the end of a testing week on and off the field.
"It was good I spent quite some time in the middle," Sehwag said. "I just focused on being positive and wanted to perform well. I feel I am in good touch and timing the ball very well.
"I have got my rhythm back. I have got everything back," he added. "I think the Perth wicket is good for me and good for batsmen because the ball comes on (with) pace and bounce so you can play your shots."
The 29-year-old brought up his century by flicking a ball to the fine leg boundary, and then celebrated by smashing a four and six from the final two deliveries of the over.
Sehwag has played 52 Tests, with 12 centuries and an average of 49.46.
The entertaining knock dramatically increased the pressure on Yuvraj, who later in the day failed again.
He made just three after scoring only two in the first innings, and his spot in the side for the third Test, starting Wednesday, must be in grave doubt.
Yuvraj has not only struggled with the bat, making just 17 runs at 4.25 in the first two Tests and offering some soft dismissals, he has been disappointing in the field and his attitude has been criticised.
Opener Wasim Jaffer, also under pressure, fell cheaply for 21, but made 92 in the first innings.
Karthik, dropped on 19, also put a case for Test selection by making a polished 97 from 152 balls, including 12 boundaries.
The ACT declared its first innings at the overnight score of 292 for eight, young paceman Ishant Sharma the pick of the Indian bowlers on the second day with 26 for three.
In the ACT's second innings, West Australian Test hopeful Chris Rogers missed another chance to impress when he made just 17, caught behind from the bowling of Irfan Pathan.
With their threat to cancel their tour in the wake of Harbhajan Singh's three-match suspension still lingering, the Indians now head to Perth to prepare for the third Test.
A date is yet to be set for the appeal against Singh's three-match suspension for racially abusing Andrew Symonds, while Indian captain Anil Kumble and Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting have both expressed a desire to clear the air with a meeting before the Perth match.
Australian spinner Brad Hogg's code of conduct hearing for allegedly calling Kumble a 'bastard' will be heard in Perth on Monday.
India 325/9 decl&281/4 (Sehwag 113, Karthik 97; Bulger 2 for 120, Perera 1 for 46) drew with ACT XI 292/8 decl&60/3 (Chris Rogers 17; Pankaj Singh 2 for 21, Pathan 1 for 16).