India gear up for tri series

Touring Indian cricketers sought to get into the groove ahead of the tri-series as they spanked a local outfit by 93 runs with nearly 14 overs to spare.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:54 IST
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New Delhi:

Touring Indian cricketers sought to get into the groove ahead of the tri-series as they spanked a local outfit by 93 runs with nearly 14 overs to spare. There were some hiccups for the Indians though in the match against Karunagela XI. After finding themselves in dire straits, they were rescued the blade of young Mahendra Singh Dhoni who made 88 and but for whom even a score of 250 with 50 extras from 42-odd overs would not have been possible. Pathan strikes The locals in reply were all out for 157 with Irfan Pathan picking up three for 20. Ashish Nehra, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh claimed two scalps each. The Indians dozed, sang and came utterly bored to the venue after nearly two hours of drive from their hotel in Dambulla and their spirits dampened further when they found a wet outfield and an overcast sky. The match began nearly an hour late as Indians chose to take first strike. V V S Laxman was rested so it gave Dhoni a chance to stake his claim for the opener's berth with Virender Sehwag. Runs came in torrents and it was already 50 plus on the board in the fifth over. Wickets tumble Then wickets fell and the innings was completely transformed. Sehwag was bowled by first change medium-pacer Udara Waruna and Yuvraj Singh, promoted to number three, found a sluggish pitch and local medium-pacers too much to get past the square. After he had managed a couple of boundaries through the off-side, he cut left-arm medium-pacer Tilina Thushara straight into third man's hands. The middle-order caved in without much fight as spinners took centrestage. Rahul Dravid fell leg before to the left-arm spin of Ajith Ekanayake and Mohammad Kaif edged a catch behind of off-spinner Mohammad Suraj. Young guns Suresh Raina (29) and Venugopal Rao (13) steadied the ship for a while before the final four wickets fell for the addition of only 23 runs. Dhoni strikes India were all out for 250 in the 43rd over against the non-descript side and things would have been far worse had Dhoni (88) and extras (50) not contributed their bit. Dhoni made his 88 runs from 97 balls with six fours and two sixes. The Indian batsmen were completely stifled in the middle overs by the spinning trio of Ekanaake, Suraj Mohammad and Jehan Mubarak who conceded only 79 in 24 overs between them. Irfan Pathan struck twice in his first spell but was running in gingerly rather than steaming in at the batsmen. Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra experimented a lot which allowed the locals to reach 103 in only the 23rd over of the innings. Nehra was once hit disdainfully over midwicket for a six by Jehan Mubarak. The local team had four internationals in their ranks. While Jehan Mubarak, Lanka de Silva and Tilina Thushara have represented them in Tests, Tilina Kandambi turned up in a few one-day internationals in his national team. Brief Scores: India 250 all out in 42.2 overs (Dhoni 88, Raina 29, Dilan Krunakare 3 for 47, Udara Waruna 2 for 28) beat Karunagela Eleven 157 in 36.2 overs (Irfan Pathan 3 for 20, Ashish Nehra 2 for 36, Virender Sehwag 2 for 18, Yuvraj Singh 2 for 2). (PTI)