England XI beat India A by three wickets in the first warm-up match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to field first on a good batting wicket and with MS Dhoni captaining for the last time in an Indian jersey, there was a huge crowd present at the stadium.
India A lost Mandeep Singh early, but Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu put on a 111-run partnership for the second wicket.
Dhawan notched up a half-century before he was dismissed for 63 while Rayudu – who was ignored from India’s ODI squad – retired hurt after scoring a hundred.
The returning Yuvraj Singh also scored a half-century, but the man who everyone came to watch was Dhoni and the former Indian captain did not disappoint.
Crowd has turned out in numbers in CCI. The stands are full and we all know why! pic.twitter.com/1HckNnNd1d— BCCI (@BCCI) January 10, 2017
Dhoni was in an aggressive mode, scoring an unbeaten 68 from just 40 deliveries as India A ended on 304/5 in their 50 overs. The highlight of Dhoni’s innings was when he smashed Chris Woakes for 23 runs in the final over of the hosts’ innings.
In reply, England XI started off brilliantly with Jason Roy and Alex Hales putting on 95 runs for the opening wicket – with Roy scoring 62.
There was a mini collapse though once the India A spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal came into the attack. From 95/0, the Eoin Morgan-led side were quickly reduced to 112/3.
Sam Billings, who came into bat at number three, saw to that there was no more trouble as he with some help from Jos Buttler and Liam Dawson brought England close to victory.
Most English batsmen did not find it easy while facing the spinners, but Billings looked in complete control. The 25-year-old made 93 as the visitors would win the match with seven balls to spare.
For India, Kuldeep took five wickets for 60 runs, his best bowling figures in List A cricket.
India A 304/7 – 50 overs [Rayudu 100*, Dhoni 68*, Willey 2/55, Ball 2/61] lost to England XI 307/7 – 48.5 overs [Billings 93, Roy 62, Kuldeep 5/60] by three wickets.
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