Nick Compton's second successive failure handed the initiative to Joe Root as Alastair Cook's likely opening partner for the Test series against India.
Compton followed his duck against India A on Tuesday with just a single against Mumbai A as the 'shoot-out' billed between him and Root lasted little more than quarter-of-an-hour at the DR DY Patil Sports Stadium.
In a match in which England chose to rest Kevin Pietersen, Root and Compton had an immediate chance to press their claims for inclusion in the first Test in Ahmedabad after stand-in captain Stuart Broad won the toss.
They at least both got off the mark, against Mumbai A, Compton having to dive in to make his ground to complete the scampered single which got Root under way. His reward, however, was a good ball soon afterwards from Kshemal Waingankar which held its line and evaded his forward-defence to knock out off-stump.
Root fared better, in a patient innings of 28 out of England's lunchtime falter to 66 for four.
The Yorkshireman came through the initial threat of Waingankar, a seamer who took five wickets against England four years ago when they were bowled out for just 98 in a crushing limited-overs defeat but who was today playing in only his 12th first-class match at the age of 27.
Root, six years younger, displayed the maturity which has impressed so many as he waited more than an hour before registering a boundary - a clip off his legs when Shardul Thakur returned for his second spell after drinks.
It was to be his only four too, before he was last out on the stroke of lunch, caught at short-leg off the part-time bowling of home captain Suryakumar Yadav as England lost three wickets for 10 runs.
Jonathan Trott had shared a half-century stand with Root before a waft at a wide one from Javed Khan brought only an edge behind.
Ian Bell, also caught by wicketkeeper Sufiyan Shaikh when Waingankar found the edge with movement off the pitch, like Compton registered a second single-figure score on tour - adding four here to the five he managed at the Brabourne Stadium.