Rohit's 150 powers India's win over Afghanistan

Wednesday 11th February 2015 05:51 EST

Rohit Sharma's 150 underpinned India's surge to 364 for 5 against Afghanistan in the World Cup warm-up match at Adelaide Oval, allowing MS Dhoni's team to go on and win their first match on the tour.

Afghanistan delivered some compelling passages of play in front of a crowd of 3,591, but India were able to hold their shape for longer periods, ultimately sinking the innings of the Associate nation 153 runs short of their steep target. The Indian tally was largely down to Rohit, who weathered threatening overs with the new ball to go on to the defining score of the match.

Hamid Hassan and Dawlat Zadran each bowled strong spells up front, claiming the early wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. But from an uncertain 16 for 2, Rohit and Suresh Raina forged a restorative partnership of 158, and Ajinkya Rahane provided further acceleration in the later overs.

Hamid and Dawlat were each more expensive when they returned later in the innings, and none of Afghanistan's other bowlers were able to keep things tight, though Shapoor Zadran gained some hint of reverse swing late in the innings on the same pitch used for India's heavy loss to Australia on Sunday.

Javed Ahmadi and Usman Ghani had Afghanistan's chase off to a busy start, and after Ahmadi fell, Nawroz Mangal played with considerable flair. But the asking rate was always rising, even as India's fielders gave Afghanistan more chances than expected when Mohammad Shami and Ambati Riyudu both dropped skied catches.

Even when one was taken - in the case of Ghani - Dhawan's running, diving effort had the ball spilling free, before he tapped it up and it was clasped on the rebound by an alert Umesh Yadav. Eventually the pressure of the scoreboard brought more wickets, as both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bowled with parsimony on a pitch that was beginning to tire after its second use in the space of three days.

The Indians were seeking their first win since arriving in Australia in November, something Afghanistan had already achieved twice, albeit against club teams in Perth. Both sides used more than 11 players in the fixture, which did not carry ODI or List A status.

Batting first on a surface ideal for the purpose, India made a diffident start in the face of testing early work from the highly regarded Hamid, who had Dhawan dragging on and nearly claimed Kohli's outside edge in the same over. Dawlat lacks Hamid's pace and bustle, but was still able to swerve a full delivery enough to have Kohli edging behind for only five.

Rohit took his time to get going but was soon unfurling a handsome array of strokes, helped by Raina's rotation of the strike - their left and right hand combination caused trouble for the Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi and his bowers, as they kept having to adjust lines and fields.

Raina's exit brought Rahane to the crease and another strong partnership ensued. Rohit looked good to add to his tally of double centuries in 50-over matches before he skied Nabi to long off, but Rahane carried on with aggression and intelligence to push India past 350 - too much for Afghanistan.

Dhawan's touch only silver-lining for India

India's bowling continues to puzzle and frustrate but Shikhar Dhawan has familiarised himself with a touch that has been missing for a long time to give India something to write home about in the batsmen-dominated warm-up game against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday, a week ahead of the big clash with Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

David Warner and Glenn Maxwell helped themselves to pacy centuries after Australia skipper George Bailey decided to take first strike on winning the toss, with only Umesh Yadav and R Ashwin succeeding in reining the home batsmen to some extent. Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane did not exactly set the River Torrens on fire but gave the India faithfuls reason to cheer.

 Bells leads England to easy win

Ian Bell played patiently and brought up a fine half century to help England notch up a convincing win over West Indies. West Indies' bowlers had very little to bowl at, and after the start England got to, they were always behind the 8-ball. England chased down the total with 27.5 overs and 9 wickets to spare.

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