press trust of india
Cardiff, 4 June: Dinesh Karthik smashed an unbeaten 146 and added 211-runs for the sixth wicket with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91) as India recovered from a precarious position to post a challenging 308 for six in their Champions Trophy warm-up match against Australia here today.
India scored exactly 100 runs in their last 10 overs as Australia failed to turn the screws after polishing off five top Indian wickets for only 55 runs at the Swalec Stadium.
Like India’s first warm-up game, the lower middle-order batsmen saved the blushes with both Karthik and Dhoni magnificently pacing their innings on a track that had plenty for the batsmen. Their stand came off 191 balls.
Karthik faced 140 balls and hit 17 fours and a six while Dhoni took 77 balls for his knock, laced with 10 boundaries, including four sixes.
Karthik’s back-to-back centuries, he scored an unbeaten 106 in Birmingham against the Sri Lankans on Saturday, will help him improve his chances for a slot in the playing XI when India take on South Africa in their opener here on Thursday.
The quality of the Australian attack was always going to be a challenge and Indias top batsmen failed to take the fight into the enemy camp after Dhoni opted to bat.
Predictably, Australia unleashed their fast bowlers with Mitchell Starc and Clint McKay doing the early damage with two wickets apiece in their first spells. Except for Murali Vijay, who was unlucky to be ruled out LWB after getting a faint edge (there is no DRS in warm-up games), Indias top batsmen paid for poor shot selection.
In a warm-up game, it was important to spend time in the middle but India’s young turks preferred flamboyance over pragmatism. Kohli, basking in the glory of his 120-ball 144 against Sri Lanka in the first warm-up game, made a telling start. The Delhi batsman on-drove Starc for a classy boundary off the third ball he faced. Kohli was quickly growing in confidence, cleverly finding gaps towards the Cardiff Castle side that had the longer boundaries. In consecutive matches, he ran four singles and seemed to be in good nick till his luck ran out. Flicking a Starc delivery outside the leg stump, Kohli edged to keeper Matthew Wade, scoring 9 off 12 balls.
India lost Rohit Sharma (10 off 14 balls) and Suresh Raina (0) in quick succession. At the end of the 10th over, India plummeted to 39 for four. Sharma was the third to exit, misjudged a rising Clint McKay ball outside off-stump, shouldering arm only to drag it onto his wickets while Raina shuffled across to a low Starc delivery that rattled his unattended leg and middle sticks.
Dhawan took his time to settle down. The Swalec Stadium wicket was nice and firm.
The ball came onto the bat and the batsmen just needed to apply themselves.
Dhawan did that for a while till he it blew that away hooking a short of length delivery from Mitchell Johnson.