India A win tri-series in South Africa

Pretoria, Aug 14 (IANS) India A avenged their double defeat against Australia in the league stage by winning the all important tri-series final at the LC de Villiers Oval here Wednesday.

The in-form Shikhar Dhawan (62) and Dinesh Karthik (73) took India A to 243. The formidable Australia A batting were expected to chase down the target but they could never recover from a disastrous start, ending at 193 all out in 46.3 overs.

Speedster Mohammed Shami (2-30) and left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (3-34) were the pick of the Indian bowlers.

The squad, comprising members of the senior team and fringe players, now plays two unofficial Tests against South Africa A, who were the third team in the one-day series.

The A team's tour was seen as ideal preparation for players ahead of the India tour of South Africa later in the year, but flat pitches in the tri-series have given them little taste of the conditions they would be expecting in the three Tests and seven One-day Internationals starting Nov 21.

India were in trouble in the final after winning the toss, losing Rohit Sharma (6) and captain Cheteshwar Pujara (1) for 34 runs in the sixth over.

Dhawan and Karthik steadied the ship with a 108-run stand for the third wicket.

The Delhi batsman, who smashed a record 248 against South Africa A to power his team into the final, looked in sublime touch again. His first shot was a drive fetching him four runs. He went on to hit nine exquisite boundaries until he was caught behind off medium pacer Moises Henriques.

Karthik too played his part well, going on to score his first fifty of the tournament. He was eventually bowled by speedster Nathan Coulter-Nile, making it 158 for four in 28.1 overs.

The left- and right-hand combination had laid the foundation for a 250-plus score. However, Australia pulled things back by picking up the last four wickets for 14 runs.

The men from down under faltered in their chase and were reeling at 88 for seven. Tim Paine (47) and Josh Hazlewood (30) saved their team the embarrassment but were not able to pull off the herculean task.

Brief scores: India 243 all out in 49.2 overs (Dhawan 62, Karthik 73; Hazlewood 3-31, Coulter-Nile 3-35). Australia 193 all out in 46.3 overs (Paine 47, Hazlewood 30; Shami 2-30, Nadeem 3-34).

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