Shikhar Dhawan served a timely reminder to the national selectors with a brilliant century, as Delhi defeated an England XI by six wickets and handed the visitors their second successive defeat in the warm-up games ahead of the One-Day International series, in Delhi, on Tuesday.
Chasing a challenging 294 for 5 set by England, Delhi rode on skipper Dhawan's 110 and Milind Kumar's unbeaten 78 to overhaul the target with nine balls to spare.
Left-hander Dhawan, who last played for India in the West Indies, scored his runs only 109 balls to set up the chase which initially looked difficult. He hit 13 boundaries and three huge sixes --- one each off Jade Dernbach, James Tredwell and Stuart Meaker.
If Dhawan and Unmukt Chand (37) started the chase well, adding 98 for the opening stand, unheralded youngster Milind and veteran Rajat Bhatia (45 not out) finished off the run-chase with a flourish, smashing 103 runs off 72 balls.
The day, however, belonged to Dhawan, who hogged the limelight with an authoritative display. Time and again he drove the pace quartet of Steven Finn, Dernbach, Meaker and Chris Woakes through the covers. The moment the pacers dug it in short he was quickly into position to play the pull shot.
He completed his century off 98 balls, with a big six off Tredwell over deep mid-wicket.
Credit should also be given to young Milind, who showed a lot of maturity and paced his innings to perfection. Whether it was playing the slash over deep third man or driving on the up, Milind had an answer to everything that was thrown at him.
Milind hit seven fours and three sixes in his 85-ball knock. The shot that stood out was a six over extra cover off Meaker.
Earlier, Ian Bell scored a fine century as England posted a challenging total in the second and final warm-up match.
Having scored 91 in the first match against India 'A', Bell continued his fine form as he batted with lot of responsibility, hitting 125-ball 108, inclusive of 10 fours and two huge sixes.
The feature of England's innings was a 113-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Bell and Eoin Morgan, who smashed 52 off 55 balls, laced with five boundaries and two sixes.
Craig Kieswetter also thrashed the Delhi bowlers to finish with an unbeaten 41 off 27 balls, which included three sixes.
The Morgan-Bell duo got their runs off only 93 balls, as the Delhi attack, led by India discard Ashish Nehra, looked pedestrian.
Parvinder Awana bowled a good first spell, but it was certainly not enough as England got off to an ideal start with skipper Alastair Cook (44) and Bell adding 70 runs for the opening wicket.
Cook, who opted out of the first practice match, decided to rest Kevin Pietersen. The left-hander hit some lovely strokes during his 57-ball stay. The best of his seven boundaries was a cover drive off Awana.
When Cook was batting, Bell played second fiddle, letting his captain take bulk of the strike.
Seamer Sumit Narwal gave Delhi the first breakthrough, bowling Cook.
Young Joe Root tried to play a sweep shot off left-arm spinner Varun Sood and the resultant skier was taken by Punit Bisht.
Samit Patel (13) was bowled by an arm ball from Sood that kept very low.
Once Morgan joined Bell, the duo started taking on the Delhi bowlers.
Bell hit Rajat Bhatia for a huge six into the middle tier of the deep mid-wicket stands. Bell's second six was straight into the sightscreen.
Morgan also made merry as he hit Nehra for a straight six and then pulled him for a boundary.
For the hosts, young Delhi U-25 spinner Sood was the best bowler with figures of three for 45 from 10 overs.
Nehra went for 48 in nine wicketless overs and Awana also got a bit of stick during his second and third spells as he ended with poor figures of 8-053-0.
Worst was Sumit Narwal, who gave away 66 from 10 overs, including two huge sixes in the final over.
A Cook b Narwal 44
I Bell lbw b Varun Sood 108
J Root c Bisht b Varun Sood 10
SR Patel b Varun Sood 13
E Morgan c Chand b Anand 52
C Kieswetter not out 41
CR Woakes not out 3
Extras: (b 1, lb 6, w 13, nb 3) 23
Total: (for 5 wickets; 50 overs) 294
Did not bat: J Tredwell, S Meaker, S Finn, J Dernbach
Fall of wickets: 1-70, 2-94, 3-130, 4-243, 5-269
Bowling: A Nehra 9-0-48-0 (2w), P Awana 8-1-53-0 (2nb, 2w), S Narwal 10-0-66-1 (1nb, 2w), J Anand 7-0-35-1 (1w), Varun Sood 10-0-45-3 (1w), R Bhatia 6-0-40-0 (1w).
S Dhawan lbw b Root 110
U Chand c Cook b Tredwell 37
J Anand b Tredwell 4
Milind Kumar not out 78
V Rawal b Dernbach 2
R Bhatia not out 45
Extras: (lb 10, w 7, nb 2) 19
Total: (for 4 wickets; 48.3 overs) 295
Did not bat: S Narwal, P Awana, A Nehra, Varun Sood, P Bisht
Fall of wickets: 1-98, 2-122, 3-188, 4-192.
Bowling: S Finn 8-0-47-0 (2nb, 4w), J Dernbach 9-1-46-1, C Woakes 6-0-40-0 (2w), S Patel 7-0-41-0, J Tredwell 9-1-49-2, S Meaker 7.3-0-55-0, J Root 2-0-7-1.