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Sran impresses, Kohli, Dhawan among runs as India win opener

India started their limited-overs tour of Australia on a positive note, comprehensively beating a second-string Western Australia XI by 74 runs in a 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 out on a run feast on a bouncy WACA wicket.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who promoted himself to No. 4, also hit a quickfire 22 off 14 balls.
In reply, Western Australia XI could only manage 118/6 as rookie left-arm speedster Barinder Sran bowled impressively to notch up figures of 2/24 from 4 overs.

More importantly, Sran hit the right length, hurried the batsmen with short balls and also showed his skills of being able to swing the white kookaburra at a lively pace.

He got opener Darcy Short (5) with a delivery that kicked up as the batsmen was hurried into playing a shot and an easy catch was taken at mid-wicket.

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

Western Australia were 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 2/13 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 an equal number of 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 in free-flowing manner.

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. 

Lehmann predicts exciting fight against ‘aggressive’ India
Australia coach Darren Lehmann expects the upcoming limited-overs series against India to be an exciting one given the “aggressive” brand of cricket that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men have been playing of late.

The five-ODI and three-T20 series begins here on January 12 and Australia, who have enjoyed big wins against a lacklustre West Indies side in a just-concluded Test series, are keen to get going in the one-dayers against the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian side.

“They are a good one-day side as they made the semis of the World Cup. They are a quality side so from our point of view we have got to start well and play well against them. We haven’t played in Perth for a while, so that is exciting for us and I feel it’s a fast bouncy track,” Lehmann told reporters at the WACA.

“They are playing an aggressive brand of cricket as well, so I don’t really see that changing in the next five games,” he added.

Australia will be missing the experience of the retired Mitchell Johnson and an injured Mitchell Starc but Lehmann believes the youngsters are up for the challenge.

“It will be a good challenge for them. We play top cricket and India play the same way, so it will be an exciting series,” he said.

Lehmann insisted that the side will not have much problem changing gears from the longer format to the limited-overs games.
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