India begins on a rousing note

Dhawan, Kohli make merry; Sran showcases his skills

India started its limited-over tour of Australia on a positive note, comprehensively beating a second-string Western Australia XI by 74 runs ina Twenty20 warm-up game here on Friday with Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan striking fluent half-centuries.

Batting first, India scored a healthy 192 for four in 20 overs with Dhawan and Kohli contributing 74 runs each. The duo added 149 runs for the second wicket after Rohit Sharma (6) missed outon bouncy WACA wicket.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who promoted himself to No. 4, hit a quickfire 22 off 14 balls.

In reply, Western Australia XI could only manage 118 for six as rookie left-arm speedster Brainder Sran bowled impressively to notch up figures of two for 24 from four overs.

More importantly, Sran hit the right length, harried the batsmen with short balls and also showed his ablity to swing the white kookaburra at a lively pace.

He got opener Darcy Short (5) with a delivery that kicked up, forcing the batsman into playing a hurried shot and lobbing an easy catch to mid-wicket.

Sran also got rival skipper Will Bosisto (1) with a delivery that was just short of a length, but Bosisto, trying to hit over long-on, provided an easy skier for R. Ashwin.

Western Australia was never in the match save for former Australia opener Travis Birt, who scored an unbeaten 74 off 60 balls. Among other bowlers, left-arm spinners Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja had identical figures of two for 13 from three overs. In all, Dhoni used six bowlers, resting Ishant Sharma for Saturday’s warm-up one-day match.

Earlier, Test captain Kohli came back from a well-deserved break and warmed up nicely with a 44-ball 74 that had seven boundaries and three sixes.

Dhawan, whose form has been patchy of late, also looked in good touch as he played 46 balls hitting eight boundaries and three sixes.

The Delhi duo was helped by the fact that the ball came onto the bat nicely and they were able to play their strokes freely.

Dhawan hooked fast bowler Matthew Kelly for a couple of sixes and also punished leg-spinner James Muirhead with a slog-swept six over deep mid-wicket. Kohli, on his part, looked more solid as he hit medium-pacer David Moody for two sixes including one that was pulled in front of square.

He also flicked Kelly for his third six.

The scores: Indians: Rohit run out 6, S. Dhawan c Short b Kelly 74, V. Kohli c Inglis b Nicholas 74, M.S. Dhoni (not out) 22, A. Rahane c Inglis b Duffield 2, Gurkeerat (not out) 0; Extras (b-1, lb-4, w-9): 14; Total (for four wickets in 20 overs): 192.

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-161, 3-173, 4-185.

Western Australia bowling: Ryan Duffield 4-0-21-1, Josh Nicholas 4-0-44-1, Matthew Kelly 4-0-31-1, David Moody 3-0-40-0, Liam O’Connor 3-0-34-0, James Muirhead 2-0-17-0.

Western Australia XI: T. Birt (not out) 74, D. Short c Ashwin b Sran 5, W. Bosisto c Ashwin b Sran 1, J. Inglis c Sran b Jadeja 11, N. Hobson st Dhoni b Jadeja 5, J. Morgan c Rahane b Patel 3, M. Kelly st Dhoni b Patel 2, J. Nicholas (not out) 4; Extras (lb-3, w-10): 13; Total (for six wickets in 20 overs): 118.

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-26, 3-61, 4-73, 5-83, 6-92.

Indians bowling: Sran 4-0-24-2, Umesh 3-0-23-0, Rishi 3-0-22-0, Jadeja 3-0-13-2, Ashwin 4-0-20-0, Axar 3-0-13-2.