The visiting English team side warmed up in comprehensive fashion as they registered a three-wicket victory in the first of two India A versus England warm-up matched, played at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday. This was Mahendra Singh Dhoni's last match as captain as he recently stepped down from the post ahead of the England ODI series.
Guided by Sam Billings, who top-scored for the visitors with 93, and thanks to an overall strong batting performance, England XI defeated India A with seven balls to spare. Having set a formidable 304/5, the home team could not defend the total as England XI won the game.
Chasing a target of 306, the visitors started well with both openers Jason Roy (62) and Alex Hales (40) striking a 95-run opening wicket stand.
After that Billings and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (46) combined well to take England closer to the target. Though Buttler got out, Billings got the support of Liam Dawson (41) and the duo more or less won the match for the English.
England stuttered a bit towards the end when they lost both Dawson and Billings, but only 15 runs away from the target and with three wickets in hand, the visitors reached home safely.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav was the star of the show as he picked up 5/60 in his 10 overs for India A in a losing cause.
Earlier in the day, backed by a brilliant unbeaten century by Ambati Rayudu (100 retired out), India A reached a strong total of 304/5. Opener Shikhar Dhawan (63), comeback man Yuvraj Singh (56) and captain Dhoni (68 not out) also made useful half-centuries to take the home team beyond the 300-run mark.
Medium pacers David Willey (2/55) and Jake Ball (2/61) picked up two wickets each for the visiting team, who had won the toss and put India A in to bat.
India A did not start well as opening batsman Mandeep Singh (8) got out cheaply in the eighth over of the day. But Dhawan and Rayudu then combined well to put up a 111-run partnership for the second wicket.
Dhawan was slow but provided stability in his innings but after his wicket Yuvraj and Rayudu really upped the tempo.
Yuvraj hit six boundaries and two sixes at the small ground while Rayudu reached his century with the aid of 11 fours and a maximum.
Rayudu retired after scoring his century which brought out Dhoni, who recently stepped down as India captain before the start of the series.
When Yuvraj got out, Dhoni helped India A's momentum to take the home team beyond the 300-run mark with the help of eight boundaries and two sixes.
Both of Dhoni's sixes came in the last over which yielded 23 runs.