Sharma, Dhawan fire India to 324 for four against New Zealand

India’s Rohit Sharma (pictured) and Shikhar Dhawan put on 154 for the first wicket during the second one-day international against New Zealand (AFP pic)

MOUNT MAUNGANUI: The prolific Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan blasted a century opening stand as India posted 324 for four batting first in the second one-day international at Mount Maunganui on Saturday.

The pair put on 154 for the first wicket and were backed by a rapid 48 off 33 by MS Dhoni to force the innings over the 300 mark.

Virat Kholi (43) and Ambati Rayudu (47) chimed in at a run a ball.

Sharma and Dhawan gave India a flying start in their bid to go 2-0 up in the series before Dhawan was out for 66 and Sharma went four overs later for 87.

It was their 14th century stand from 93 innings together.

Only the now retired Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly (21st century stands), Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden (16) and Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes (15) have produced more hundred-plus partnerships as openers.

New Zealand new-ball bowler Trent Boult spoke before the match of a need to put pressure on India from the start but his opening delivery, after India won the toss and chose to bat, was a juicy half volley which Sharma edged through the vacant first slip for four.

He finished with nine fours and three sixes and brought up his 38th ODI half-century lofting Lochie Ferguson over the boundary.

Dhawan completed his 27th fifty with a two off Colin de Grandhomme and celebrated with boundaries off the next two deliveries.

But he was gone soon after when he edged a wide Boult delivery to wicketkeeper Tom Latham.

Sharma’s was also a soft dismissal when he jabbed a loose Ferguson delivery to de Grandhomme at square leg.

Following the dismissals of Kohli and Rayudu India were in danger of not reaching 300 until Dhoni opened up in partnership with Kedar Jadhav.

The pair put on 35 runs in the last two overs.