New Delhi: India ended their warm-up rounds of the Australia tour with a convincing 64-run win in a 50-over tour match, thanks to spinners, over a Western Australia XI at the WACA Ground, Perth on Saturday. Yesterday, India beat the same side in the first warm-up game, a T20 encounter, at the same venue.
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again won the toss and India batted first. But unlike yesterday, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli found themselves back in the hut as early as the sixth over, with both the Delhi batsmen failing even to reach double figures.
India's cause was, however, resurrected by the brilliance of Rohit Sharma - who opened with Dhawan. The Mumbai batsman played a controlled innings of 67 runs off 82 deliveries and with Ajinkya Rahane, stitched 88-run partnership for the third wicket, which eventually helped India crossed the 100-run mark.
Later in the innings, after the Rahane's departure, Manish Pandey batted sensibly, first with Rohit then Ravindra Jadeja to keep India's chances alive. His 58-run innings off 59 balls had only three boundaries. Like other Indian batsmen, skipper MS Dhoni also struggle, making 15 off 35.
Indian innings folded for 249 with five deliveries left in the innings. Western Australia's bowling hero was medium-pacer Drew Porter. The 30-year-old scalped the wickets of Dhawan, Kohli, Gurkeerat Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin for his five-for.
In defence to their below-par total, Indian new ball bowlers in Umesh Yadav and Barinder Sran impressed everyone with their application. The 23-year Sran was especially impressive, even though he failed to pick a wicket. He returned with a figure of 7-1-22-0.
But it was the senior pro, Yadav, who provided the first breakthrough, in the tenth over. MS Dhoni also utilised the medium pacer Rishi Dhawan to good effect to control the flow of runs. The Himachal Pradesh boy was rewarded with two wickets for his efforts in a spell of XXX overs.
Then, once the experienced spinners are introduced, it was India all way. The trio of Jadeja, Ashwin and Axar Jadeja toyed with the Australians, with each one of them taking two wickets each.
For the Australians, opener Jake Carder (45 off 75) and middle-order bat Jaron Morgan (50 of 66) were the stand-out performers, even as not a single partnership breached the 50-run mark against a disciplined Indian bowling attack.
WA's innings lasted one delivery longer than the Indian's but lost the match by 64 runs in a low-scoring match.
Yesterday, India beat the same opponents in a T20 match by 74 runs.
The series starts on January 12 at WACA with the first of five ODIs. The tour ends on January 31 with the last of three T20s at Sydney Cricket Ground.