Cardiff: Captain MS Dhoni indicated that Dinesh Karthik has more or less "earned" his berth in the playing XI with an unbeaten century in India's crushing win over Australia in a warm-up match for the Champions Trophy, here on Tuesday.
"I think he has earned his place in the side and we'll just have to see who misses out when we play against South Africa. I'd like him to play at the top of the order but we'll see," Dhoni said after the match which India won by 243 runs.
This would have the biggest ODI loss for Australia, if this was an official game. And the credit mainly goes to three players -- Karthik, who hit 146, five-wicket man Umesh Yadav, and the skipper himself, who blasted his way to 91 off 77 balls at Cardiff.
The platform was set by Karthik and Dhoni's 211-run sixth-wicket partnership after India were at a spot of bother.
"To start off Dinesh batted really well. That partnership between me and him got us to a respectable score and then the bowling was up to the mark. We used five bowlers and all of them got wickets."
India play South Africa in the tournament opener on Thursday, and the form bodes well for the team.
"Umesh is one of the quickest bowlers we have and with the two paced pitch here, the ball was holding up, not much, but just enough which was why there were so many inside edges.
Talking about his own batting, Dhoni said, "I was looking to get to the best place on the field - the non-striker's end and Karthik is a great runner between the wickets. That's something all the batsmen should work on, getting those one and a half runs into twos."
Australia skipper George Bailey, standing in for injured Michael Clarke, said: "It was a really disappointing performance, but if you have to have a day like this it's better it's on a practice game. This was not the result we were after.
"Dhoni and Karthik batted really well and we couldn't get that sixth wicket. Our new ball attack was good. We discussed that after the last game and everyone who took the new ball bowled really well."
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