MUMBAI: Batsman Sam Billings spoiled Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy swansong as his gutsy 93 helped England beat India A by three wickets in the first 50 over warm-up game in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Chasing a mammoth 305 for victory, England rode on a 99-run sixth-wicket partnership between Billings and Liam Dawson (41) to achieve the target in 48.5 overs.
The batting duo lifted England from a precarious 191-5 to deny Dhoni, who recently relinquished his ODI and Twenty20 captaincy, a win in his last match as leader of an Indian side.
England’s top-order came good as contributions from Jason Roy (62), Alex Hales (40) and Jos Buttler (46) also stood out. India’s chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav claimed five wickets.
Earlier Dhoni hit a whirlwind 68 not out to help India A post 304 for five after being put into bat at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.
The wicketkeeper batsman did not disappoint the raucous crowd, who had turned out in numbers to watch their star in action, as he smashed four fours and two sixes during his 40-ball blitz, getting 23 runs of the final over of the innings.
Ambati Rayudu’s 100 and half-centuries from opener Shikhar Dhawan (63) and Yuvraj Singh (56) also contributed to India A’s tall score.
The Eoin Morgan-led England side will play another warm-up game on Thursday at the same venue before heading into the first of the three one-day internationals in Pune on January 15.
The Virat Kohli-led India will also play host to three Twenty20 games against the visitors after the one-day internationals.
India A 304/5 in 50 overs (A. Rayudu 100 retired out, MS Dhoni 68 not out; D. Wiley 2-55, J. Ball 2-61)
England XI 307/7 in 48.5 overs (S. Billings 93, J. Roy 62; K. Yadav 5-60)