Injured Australia opener David Warner has pressed his claims to return in the New Year's Test against India with a solid batting practice session in the MCG nets.
Warner faced deliveries from teammate Sean Abbott during a 45-minute session on Sunday and did several run-throughs at medium pace.
But the 34-year-old, who has been sidelined by a groin issue since the ODI series, is still no certainty to be given the green light by medical staff to bolster the hosts' batting line-up from January 7.
Australia coach Justin Langer is optimistic about Warner's chances but conceded the explosive batsman cannot yet run completely freely after missing the opening two Tests of the series.
"In terms of his batting, he's flying, (but) it's just he's still having some trouble with his groin," Langer told Channel 7 on Sunday.
"We know how dynamic he is - his running between the wickets, the way he's moving all the time - so he's getting closer and we're hopeful that he will come good.
"He's certainly hopeful he's going to come good, but time will tell.
"We still have a few more days till the next Test match. Fingers crossed he's ready to go for that third Test match."
Warner was hurt fielding during the ODI clash on November 29 and has joined his Australia teammates in Melbourne to continue his injury rehabilitation.
The left-hander was sorely missed at the top of the order as the hosts were bowled out for 195 at the MCG on Boxing Day.
No Australian batsman reached 50 as under-fire opener Joe Burns and former captain Steve Smith both failed to score.
Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin played key roles in limiting Australia to a sub-200 first innings for the second time in as many attempts this series.
"We're not going to win - we're not going to set up games as well as we could - (without improving our partnerships)," Langer said.
"If you look at our partnerships in the first Test match, in the first innings and then yesterday, you know, we have to get a lot better at that."