Indian batsmen Shikhar Dhawan (51), KL Rahul (50) and Rohit Sharma (54 not out) had a good outing with their respective half-centuries, while Cheteshwar Pujara came up with solid knock on day one of their first practice match against West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts on Saturday. After both the openers retired following their respective fifties, skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane didn’t have productive outings. But Pujara’s 34 and Rohit’s fifty helped India end the opening day’s play at 258 for 3.
Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. Dhawan and Rahul, who came out to open, weren’t in any hurry, they took their time to adjust to the Caribbean conditions. Although their scoring rate wasn’t all that brisk, the openers batted with application and were largely untroubled on a pitch that appeared to be easy on the batsmen, not offering much for the pacers despite the cloud cover.
The Indian team-management decided that Dhawan had sufficient time in the middle as Pujara accompanied Rahul to the crease after the lunch break. Rahul continued piling on the runs at a good rate as he took India past the 100-run mark and retired soon after registering a 99-ball fifty, bringing the Indian Test captain to the crease.
Like the openers, Pujara and Kohli too took their time to settle down as they knocked the ball around for singles and twos, with the occasional boundaries. The partnership, however, came to an end in the 48th over when Kohli was out caught-behind off left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican. The skipper’s dismissal did not have any effect on Pujara, who continued untroubled and, in the company of Rahane, took India past 150. However, Rahane departed soon after, bowled by Warrican for a 25-ball 5. Rohit, who got off the mark with a square-cut for a four, remained unbeaten with Pujara at Tea.
The final session began with Wriddhiman Saha joining Rohit, with Pujara retiring on 34 off 102 deliveries. Another handy partnership blossomed as Rohit and Saha helped India past the 200-run mark in the 72nd over. However, Saha’s outing came to an end when he hit a delivery from legspinner Damion Jacobs to Rajendra Chandrika at forward short-leg to depart for 22.
Rohit was assisted by Amit Mishra as they added on to the total with a good stand. Having completed 90 overs with more than 10 minutes left for the end of the day’s play, there was enough time for the Board President’s XI to bowl a few more overs at the Indian batsmen. The extra overs allowed Rohit to register a 102-ball fifty and in the process take India past 250. Rohit and Mishra (18*) took their partnership to 45 before stumps were called.
Brief scores: India 258/3 in 93 overs (Rohit Sharma 54*, Shikhar Dhawan 51, KL Rahul 37, Cheteshwar Pujara 34; Jomel Warrican 2-61, Damion Jacobs 1-80) vs West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI.
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