India record resounding first win in Australia as preparations heat up for World Cup

Dave James 07:34 11/02/2015
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India celebrate the wicket of Nawroz Mangal in their warm-up match against Afghanistan at the Adelaide Oval.

India finally celebrated a first win on their marathon Australia tour yesterday with a resounding 153-run victory over outclassed Afghanistan in a World Cup warm-up.

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The defending World Cup champions piled up 364-5 in their 50 overs at the Adelaide Oval with record-breaking batsman Rohit Sharma making 150 with 12 fours and seven sixes.

Afghanistan batted their full quota of overs but managed just 211 for eight.

India had a poor start as they lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (4) and vice-captain Virat Kohli (5) cheaply by the fourth over. However, Sharma teamed up with left-handed batsman Suresh Raina (75) as the two stitched together a 158-run third-wicket partnership.

After Raina was dismissed, with India’s score at 174 in the 29th over, Sharma partnered Ajinkya Rahane, who scored an unbeaten 88.

Sharma added 95 runs with Rahane before his superb knock came to an end in the 40th over. But by that time, India had enough momentum and Rahane went after the Afghan bowlers in the death overs to power India to a big total.

Afghanistan captain Mohammed Nabi tried out eight bowlers of which four took a wicket each.

The chase proved to be a bit too difficult for Afghanistan. Though they did show enough resolve to cross the 200-run mark but were never in with a chance of pulling off an upset.

Nawroz Mangal top-scored with 60, the only half-century of the Afghanistan innings. India pacer Mohit Sharma and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja picked up two wickets apiece.

“I’m not a big fan of practice games, but a bit more time in the middle does help. Overall it has been quite good,” said India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Not all smiles: India know they have a mountain to climb if they are to defend their World Cup crown.

When asked about the bowling combination to be used at the main event, Dhoni said: “We’ll have to wait and watch, depending on conditions and the kind of wickets offered. I wanted Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin to bowl their 10 overs, but I just wanted to use five bowlers in this game, and I needed Suresh Raina.”

Afghanistan captain Nabi  admitted his bowlers couldn’t build on the solid foundation given them by the opening pair.

“The bowlers couldn’t put ball in the right place, but India are a champion team and their batting is quite long,” said Nabi.

“We started well when we batted but then the ball began to skid and we struggled. We played out the 50 overs, that was a plus point.”

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