The Telegraph
Saturday , August 23 , 2014
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Karn scalps three as India script easy win

London: The under-fire Virat Kohli finally came good and the bowlers too delivered as India beat Middlesex by 95 runs in the practice game, at Lord's, here, on Friday.

Kohli and Ambati Rayudu hit half-centuries before India were dismissed for 230 runs in 44.2 overs. In pursuit of 231, Middlesex were bowled out for 135 runs in 39.5 overs with youngster Karn Sharma picking up three wickets for 14.

Kohli scored 71 runs off 75 balls, hitting eight fours and a six, while Rayudu scored 72 runs off 82 balls with eight fours before heading back to the pavilion (retired out). The two batsmen added 104 runs for the fourth wicket after the top-order had been dismissed cheaply once again.

India were put in to bat in this one-off practice match before their first ODI against England in Bristol on August 25.

Kohli led the side as Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the field only in the afternoon. Sanju Samson kept the wickets.

Shikhar Dhawan (10) and Rohit Sharma (8) opened the innings making a brisk start, scoring 19 runs in the first three overs. But then the brakes were applied as the two batsmen were dismissed in quick succession.

Dhawan was caught at short mid-on in an attempt to clear the in-field, while Rohit top-edged a catch to third man, that too, at the shortest boundary on the ground. Ajinkya Rahane (14) came in to bat at No. 4 and holed out at mid-off, again looking to clear the in-field.

India were struggling at 52 for three in the 14th over when Kohli and Rayudu came together. They looked comfortable at the crease, although Kohli still seemed rusty from his poor show in the Test series. They batted together for 16.3 runs and it seemed India were heading towards a 250-plus score.

But then, Kohli was caught behind off left-arm spinner Ravi Patel and that changed the complexion of the innings. Ravindra Jadeja was sent up the order, but he wasted the chance, holing out to deep mid-wicket in an effort to clear the ropes.

After the 200-run mark was crossed in the 40th over, India lost quick wickets with off-break bowler Ollie Rayner (four for 32) also sending back Stuart Binny for a first-ball duck. Young guns Samson and Karn Sharma came together, but Rayner was on a roll as he snapped up the former, caught and bowled, and then accounted for Suresh Raina as well.

The latter came to bat at No. 11, held back for getting some practice as a finisher during the death overs. But that tactic failed as Raina was stumped cheaply.

Steve Finn, Gurjit Sandhu and James Harris were the other bowlers deployed by Middlesex. (AGENCIES)