Perth: Star batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli struck fluent half-centuries as India began their tour of Australia with a comfortable 74-run victory over Western Australian XI in the Twenty20 practice game at the WACA Ground on Friday.
The visitors are scheduled to play five One Day Internationals (ODI) starting on January 12 in Perth followed by three Twenty20 Internationals against hosts Australia.
Dhawan (74) and Kohli (74) helped India post a challenging total of 192/4 in 20 overs.
In reply, Western Australian XI were restricted to 118/6 in 20 overs.
For the visitors, Ravindra Jadeja (2/13), Axar Patel (2/13) and Barinder Sran (2/24) were the pick of the bowlers.
Opting to bat first, India lost an early wicket when Rohit Sharma (6) was run out in the third over, but soon after it became the Dhawan and Kohli show.
The pair took some time to settle down, but as the innings progressed the duo started to break free and smacked the inexperienced Western Australian bowling line-up to all parts of the ground to notch up a 149-run partnership for the second wicket.
The partnership ended in the 17th over when Kohli was caught behind by Josh Inglis off Josh Nicholas. He struck seven fours and three sixes in his 44-ball knock.
Dhawan too fell in the next over after hitting eight fours and three sixes in 46 deliveries.
The incoming batsman, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, made a quick-fire 22 not out off 14 to help India cross the 190-run mark.
In reply, Western Australia’s players never looked comfortable chasing down the big score and lost wickets at regular intervals to make the task easy for India.
Opener Travis Birt (74 not out) was the only batsman who looked settled in the entire line-up.
Besides Birt, Josh Inglis (11) was the only player to cross the one-digit mark.
Dhoni, meanwhile, found himself in a spot of bother on Friday after a Non Bailable Warrant was issued against him in Andhra for failing to appear before a local court in a case against him for hurting religious sentiments.
Dhoni has been asked to be present in the Court on February 25 for the hearing of the case filed by VHP activist Y Shyamsunder.
The Indian ODI and Twenty20 captain has been accused of hurting religious sentiment by appearing as Lord Vishnu on a magazine cover photograph which depicted him holding several things including a shoe.
Dhoni has been accused of ignoring summons from the local court, an allegation that the star cricketer’s lawyer Rajneesh Chopra denied on Friday.
Chopra insisted that the Non Bailable Warrant issued against the wicketkeeper-batsman was “erroneous”.
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni has utmost respect for the judiciary but the fact of the matter is that he has personally never received any summons with respect to the present case; therefore the order appears to be erroneous,” Dhoni’s lawyer Chopra said in a statement issued by Rhiti Sports, the company managing Dhoni.
“Even as such, proceedings in a similar matter pending before the Hon’ble District Court of Bengaluru, Karnataka has already been stayed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. In this matter, accordingly we will approach the courts and seek appropriate directions thereto,” he added.
Brief Scores: Indians 192/4 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 74, Virat Kohli 74) vs Western Australia XI 118/6 in 20 overs (Travis Birt 74 not out; Ravindra Jadeja 2/13 and Axar Patel 2/13, Barinder Sran 2/24).