Dhawan, Rahul, Rohit start with fifties


Rohit Sharma and openers Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul started the six-week long tour of the West Indies with fifties against West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI in Basseterre, as the Indians accumulated 258 runs in 93 overs. After captain Virat Kohli chose to bat, Dhawan and Rahul got the Indians off to a strong start with a 93-run stand in 27 overs.

Dhawan retired out after his 51, an innings that featured seven fours. Like his opening partner, Rahul, too, retired out shortly after reaching his half-century, at the end of the 35th over.

Kohli, however, could not build on his slow start and was caught behind for a 40-ball 14 off left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, after adding 26 runs for the third wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara. Warrican struck again a few overs later when he bowled Ajinkya Rahane for 5.

“I think I bowled very well knowing that St Kitts [pitch] suits batting and India was off to a good start as well so to come and pull back [the scoring] and bowl economically and get two wickets was very important for the team,” Warrican said after stumps. “[I was] being patient and consistent, knowing that you couldn’t blast out anyone on this wicket. So the key was to be patient and disciplined and just stick to the basics and that’s what I did. It was just like any other game against an international team, the batting is always strong so my aim was just to bowl wicket to wicket and be consistent, allow them to make the mistakes and that’s what I did.”

Pujara, the third Indian to retire out, made a patient 34 off 102 balls including five fours. Rohit, who came at No. 6, and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha then combined for a 47-run sixth-wicket stand off 97 balls that took the Indians past 200.

After Saha was dismissed for 22, Rohit found able support from Amit Mishra, as they remained unbeaten on 54 and 18 respectively.

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