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Sharma hits century in timely win for India

By Cricket Correspondent and Agencies

Opener Rohit Sharma smashed 150 in India's 153-run romp against Afghanistan in their final World Cup warm-up match on Tuesday, helping the holders register their first win in Australia since they landed in November.

Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane (88 not out) and Suresh Raina (75) made merry against Afghanistan's limited bowling resources to propel India to 364-5 at the Adelaide Oval.

The two-time world champions then restricted Afghanistan to 211-8 to finally taste victory before they begin their title defence against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday.

In an otherwise frustrating Australian summer, India lost the four-Test series to Australia, could not win a single match in the subsequent tri-series also involving England, and were spanked by the World Cup hosts in their first warm-up match on Sunday.

Opting to bat first, India lost quick two wickets before Sharma and Raina (75) added 158 runs in the next 25 overs.

Worryingly for them, however, opener Shikhar Dhawan's lack of footwork once again led to his dismissal while batting mainstay Virat Kohli and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also could not spend enough time in the middle.

Sharma, the only cricketer to hit two 200-plus ODI scores, appeared to have recovered fully from a hamstring injury as he hit seven sixes and 12 boundaries in his 122-ball knock.

Contrary to expectations, Sharma did not retire after his century to allow other team mates some batting practice.

In a pitchside interview after the Indian innings, Raina said his team would try to restrict Afghanistan to under 250 which they did but their inability to bowl out the minnows once against proved their bowling limitations.

Nawroz Mangal (60) and Usman Ghani (44) shone with the bat for Afghanistan who begin their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh on Feb. 18.

India lacked sharpness in the field with Mohammad Shami and Ambati Rayudu dropping regulation catches.

In contrast, Dhawan and Umesh Yadav collaborated to take a spectacular catch to remove Ghani.

Dhawan ran back from short midwicket to take a tumbling catch but the ball popped out of his hands and he juggled with it before flicking it into the hands of Yadav, who had rushed from long-on to catch the skier before halting to avoid a collision. 

India innings

India recovered to make 374-5 thanks to a 158-run partnership for the third wicket between Rohit Sharma (150) and Suresh Raina (75) against Afghanistan.

Dhawan and Kohli fell cheaply while skipper Dhoni also failed to get some runs under his belt.

Rahane continued his form with a fluent unbeaten knock of 88.

Rohit's 150 which came off 122 balls contained 12 fours and seven sixes while Raina hammered three sixes and five boundaries.

Rahane's knock which came off just 61 balls was studded with 12 fours and two sixes.

Rahane is in sublime touch smashing Aftab almost for another six and for a boundary through the covers. Ind 342-5, 48 overs.

Dhoni falls cheaply failing to clear the long boundary. Ind 322-5, 46.1 overs.

MS Dhoni c Nawroz Mangal b Shapoor Zadran 10 (20b 0x4 0x6)

Rahane is turning it on blasting a six and boundary off Zadran. Ind 322-4, 46 overs.

It's raining boundaries off the blade of Rahane who takes a couple off Nabi and drives Shapoor back over his head to complete his half century off just 44 balls. Ind 308-4, 45 overs.

Afghanistan finally hold onto a catch as Rohit falls after blasting his seventh six. Ind 269-5, 39.5 overs.

Rohit Sharma c Mirwais Ashraf b Mohammad Nabi 150 (122b 12x4 7x6)

India are scoring at nearly seven an over with 48 runs coming in the Batting Powerplay. Ind 261-3, 39 overs.

Rohit slog sweeps Nabi for a towering six over midwicket while Rahane slams another over long off. Ind 237-3, 36 overs.

Rahane gets a couple of boundaries off Zadran, the second via a misfield. Ind 224-3, 35 overs.

Rahane survives a run out attempt with the keeper Zazi making a mess of breaking the stumps. Ind 213-3, 34 overs.

Dawlat drops a regulation chance on the midwicket fence off Rohit who slams Ahmadi inside out for a six over extra cover next ball. Ind 204-3, 32 overs.

Rohit Sharma pulls a short ball from Zadran for another six to complete his century off 94 balls. Ind 192-3, 31 overs.

Rohit moves into the 90s by despatching a short ball from Zadran over square leg for his third six.

Afghanistan get a breakthrough as Raina is run out by a superb underarm hit from Nabi as they attempt a quick single. Ind 174-3, 28.3 overs.

Suresh Raina run out 75 (71b 5x4 3x6)

Raina is turning it on whipping spinner Ahmadi inside out over extra cover for another boundary. Ind 172-2, 28 overs.

Raina has stepped on the gas using his feet and belts Shenwari over midwicket for his third six. Ind 163-2, 27 overs.

Raina heaves Shenwari over midwicket for a massive six after completing his half century. Ind 150-2, 25 overs.

Rohit and Raina pick up a boundary apiece off Alam. Ind 138-2, 24 overs.

Rohit survives clearing the fielder at midwicket who misjudged the catch but slaps another through extra cover. Ind 123-2, 22 overs.

The 100-run partnership for the third wicket between Rohit and Raina has come in 107 balls.

Raina breaks the shackles by lofting Mirwais over extra cover for a boundary. Ind 114-2, 21 overs.

Rohit Sharma flicks Mirwais to the fine leg fence to complete his 50 off 49 balls. Ind 94-2, 17 overs.

Rohit is in sublime form lofting Ashraf effortlessly for another boundary. Ind 79-2, 13 overs.

The 50-run partnership has come up between Rohit and Raina in quick time. Ind 66-2, 11 overs.

Raina also gets into the acts clobbering Zadran for a boundary and a six. Ind 65-2, 10 overs.

Hassan goes for 15 with Rohit slamming a boundary and six off consecutive balls. Ind 54-2, 9 overs.

A short delivery from Hassan is pulled over midwicket for the first maximum by Rohit. Ind 36-2, 7 overs.

Rohit gets into his stride cracking consecutive boundaries off Zadran. Ind 27-2, 6 overs.

Kohli clips Zadran for a delightful boundary but is dismissed caught behind. Ind 16-2, 4 overs.

Virat Kohli c Afsar Zazai b Dawlat Zadran 5 (9b 1x4 0x6)

Hassan strikes with his first delivery knocking back the stumps of Dhawan. Ind 7-1, 1.1 overs.

Shikhar Dhawan b Hamid Hassan 4 (8b 0x4 0x6)

India won the toss and elected to bat in their second World Cup warm-up match against Afghanistan at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.