Indian bowlers seal comfortable win over WA XI after fifties from Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey
After a lacklustre batting performance, India’s bowling and fielding ensured another comfortable win, this time in the one-day warm-up against Western Australia XI. After being bowled out for 249 inside 50 overs, India's bowlers, led by Ravichandran Ashwin secured a 64-run win.
MS Dhoni had no hesitation in choosing to bat, after winning the toss, but must have regretted his decision early in the game as India's two best performers from the T20 match against WA XI, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were both dismissed inside the sixth over.
If Kohli was slightly unlucky to have been adjudged lbw, Dhawan can have no complaints as he hit a full toss straight to point, right after opening the scoring with a boundary. Kohli was almost run-out on 3 after a terrible mix-up with Rohit Sharma but survived thanks to a wide throw.
But an error in judgement cost him his wicket on 7 and brought Ajinkya Rahane to the crease, with India desperately needing a calm presence to weather the early storm. Rahane provided just that as he was the perfect foil alongside the more aggressive Rohit.
The pair looked settled and brought up the 100 in quick time, but Rahane chopped a short ball from James Muirhead onto his stumps and brought Gurkeerat Mann to the crease. Although he was unlucky with his dismissal, India’s only centurion from the South Africa Test series, looked in good touch until then, especially with his straight drives.
Rohit Sharma, who provided the early momentum with a flurry of boundaries got to his fifty off 64 balls and looked set for a big score. And it took a sublime catch from Short to rob him of what would have been a well-deserved hundred.
Rohit’s dismissal came four balls after Gurkeerat needlessly poked at a length delivery and was caught behind. Two quick dismissals left India in a spot of bother, but Manish Pandey, who came in at No.6, provided some stability alongside skipper MS Dhoni.
When Dhoni was caught behind in the 38th over, with the score reading 171/6, it looked as though India might struggle to get too far beyond 200. But Pandey along with Ravindra Jadeja ensured the visitors crossed 200 with ease.
The pair brought up a crucial 50-run partnership for the seventh wicket, with the running between the wickets, being a feature of their partnership. Pandey in particular, seemed to relish his role as the finisher as he got India close to 250.
When he fell for a run-a-ball 58, India looked set for a score in excess of 250 but lost their lost three wickets quickly as they were bundled out for 249 with four balls to spare in their innings. Drew Porter was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, as he finished with figures of 5/37.
Although the total wasn't huge, India's new ball bowlers kept things quiet and made the batsmen earn every run. The tight bowling was rewarded when captain Will Bosisto edged behind for 13 off Umesh Yadav, who generated good bounce and pace from the WACA pitch.
Rishi Dhawan kept up the good work by Barinder Sran and Yadav, as he kept it quiet, before India's spin trio of Jadeja-Ashwin-Axar completely sucked the momentum out of the WA's innings.
Although WA XI will be disappointed with their batting, facing Ashwin and Jadeja, who had their tails up, wouldn't have been something they would have practiced too much for. Jake Carder looked solid and was set for a fifty, but wickets kept tumbling around and he too fell for 45 to Jadeja in the 25th over.
Ashwin was his economical best and finished with impressive figures of 2/32 from his 10 overs. Jadeja, who was the only other bowler to bowl his quota of overs, also picked up a couple of wickets.
In total, India’s three spinners combined for 28 overs and conceded just 99 runs and picked up six wickets. The hosts simply had no answer as the wickets kept tumbling. although Morgan chipped in with a useful fifty, the flurry of wickets meant he couldn't go for broke, which the situation demanded.
Sran, although wicketless continued to push his case for a starting place in the first ODI on Tuesday while Rishi Dhawan mixed his pace well and also ended with two wickets in his seven overs.
Although it was largely one-way traffic for India, Bosisto must be happy with the performance of his bowlers, especially Muirhead as they managed to tie down accomplished internationals.
Brief scores: India 249 in 49.1 overs (Rohit 67, Pandey 58; Porter 5/37) beat Western Australia XI 185 in 49.2 overs (Morgan 50; Ashwin 2/32, Dhawan 2/28)