In another example of how ill-prepared India seem for next month’s World Cup, they were bowled out for a paltry 200 in the sixth match of the Carlton Mid ODI Tri-Series against England at the WACA in Perth. After being put into bat by opposition skipper Eoin Morgan, India got off to a steady, but watchful start. Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan did well to negotiate the early burst from James Anderson and Chris Woakes, ensuring that India did not lose early wickets.
Dhawan, enduring a wretched run of form Down Under, dug in and carved out a fighting 38. But just as he was slowly looking like his usual self, Dhawan tried to cut a Woakes delivery that was too close too his body. Jos Butler took a smart low catch. But Dhawan’s short, yet impressive stint at the crease must have come as a major relief to the Indian think-tank. Meanwhile, Rahane kept up the good work at the other end, knitting a much needed half-century.
India was still in the ascendancy after the fall of Dhawan, but two quick wickets by Moeen Ali tilted the game in England’s favour. Virat Kohli — who, for a change, came in at number three — and Suresh Raina, both fell in similar fashion. Kohli was caught by Joe Root at long-off while trying to go inside-out. Raina tried doing the same to Ali, but couldn’t get past Woakes at short third-man. They made 8 and 1 respectively.
Soon after the departure of these two, India found themselves tottering at 136-5. Rahane fell for a 101-ball 73 early in the batting powerplay, guiding one to Butler while trying to dab the ball down to third-man against Steven Finn. It was up to captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Stuart Binny to resurrect the Indian innings, but both fell cheaply. Dhoni made 17, while Binny made just 7. Struggling at 165-9, a couple of lusty blows from Mohammed Shami helped India to get to 200. The pacer made a quickfire 18-ball 25.
For England, all the bowlers chipped in. Finn continued his good run against India, ending up with tidy figures of 3 for 36; while Ali, Woakes and Stuart Broad picked up two wickets each. India must win this encounter in order to qualify for the final of the series against Australia.