India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 3rd day February 24, 2013

Sachin-day gives way to Dhoni-day

Plays of the day from the third day of the first Test between India and Australia in Chennai

The silence

This day was supposed to be all about Sachin Tendulkar. No Test hundreds for more than two years. Speculation about his future rife. Unbeaten on 71 at stumps on the second afternoon. The anticipation was such that fans had lined up from the early hours of the morning to make sure they could be at the ground if and when his century arrived. As play started, long lines of people were still waiting outside the stadium, hoping to make it past the security checkpoints and inside the venue in time. A glance off the pads for four brought roars from the crowd; indeed every run that Tendulkar added was a reason for celebration. But on 81, the fans were silenced when Nathan Lyon turned one too far for Tendulkar and bowled him. Sachinday had given way to a regular Sunday. Until Dhoni arrived.

The onslaught

It was almost like a Powerplay. Around the time that Virat Kohli reached his century, India's tempo lifted considerably, thanks largely to MS Dhoni's aggressive approach. From the 85th over of the innings until the 90th, they added 44 for the loss of no wickets at a run-rate of nearly nine an over. The majority of the runs had come through Dhoni, who seemed to enjoy the fact that the new ball had not long been taken. Dhoni was especially dismissive of Moises Henriques when Michael Clarke brought him on. His first ball was dispatched by Dhoni over the long-off fence for six and another one was crunched to long-on for four. The over finished up costing 12 runs and Henriques was taken straight off by Clarke. It was just the first of many onslaughts from Dhoni.

The leave

Ravindra Jadeja might have three first-class triple-centuries to his name but he looked the least threatening member of India's middle order in this innings. On 16, Jadeja followed four of his batting colleagues in being bowled, but unlike the others, he hadn't even tried to play a shot. Jadeja shouldered arms to Pattinson, who was coming around the wicket and angling the ball in, and the off stump was gone. As far as judgment goes, Jadeja's left a lot to be desired.

The fumble

As a batsman who doesn't bowl, Phillip Hughes needs to offer something in the field. Unfortunately that didn't happen on this occasion when Dhoni worked the ball to midwicket and took off for a run. But confusion reigned between Dhoni and Jadeja, and Hughes had the chance to effect a much-needed run-out. Except that he was unable to gather the ball cleanly. By the time Hughes had finally managed to get the ball in his hands, the batsmen were safely through for their single.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Some one like Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman who lost form so many times in their years Carrier, people accept that. But when some one like Dhoni who thinks about only Team India, play at no.6 along with tail enders is questionable if he loose form atleast once. People, please open eyes and think unbiased you can see which player plays for team and can balance captaincy. None of those where as capable as Dhoni in managing captaincy.

  • Ravi Kumar on February 25, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    @xylo: if the commentators were "hyping up" Tendulkar "past his sell-off date", your desperate desire to talk him down is no less pathetic. Chennai has traditionally had good crowds for Test matches, plus it was a Sunday, plus India were in a strong position. Can we take the toxicity out of the cricket and stop moaning about our cricketers - and watch the cricket instead?

  • Hamish on February 25, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    I think there are still huge questions about Dhoni's captaincy and there are legitimate questions about his keeping and his batting outside India.;home_or_away=2;template=results;type=batting;view=reverse_cumulative shows that he's been pretty poor away from home for a fair while and I'm not really sure India can afford the combination of his captaincy, his glovework and his batting outside India.

  • indiafan on February 24, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    Anytime a player makes a great play against the Aussies who won't give up an inch anywhere is very special. Dhoni showed today why he should be considered as one of the leading contender for the title to World's most street smart and astitute cricketer. So, Dhoni made a special play.

    Now, this test match is not won or lost by either side, at least not, yet. So, an interesting battle resumes tomorrow.

  • Shriram on February 24, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    @xylo, Maybe you would understand if you had been there during the last session when Dhoni was going beserk and the crowd was going Sachin.... Sachin... He has a special place in the hearts of chennai-ites. I personally know at least 40 of my friends (and my family including grandparents) queuing yesterday since 6:30-7 AM to get in early so that they wont miss a single ball of Sachin.

  • Suraj on February 24, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    After Making Debut on Dec 2 2005 all most its take 8 years to prove dhoni his Test Batting abilities.Lets see His Consistency on white for a while then i will analysis him even Jakson Gillispe has Double Century on Test My Indian Friends...anyway For Today's Knock Its super, thrilling and Full of entertaining,,...

  • Archana on February 24, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    This should silence critics of MS Dhoni for a long time to come. There were those who questioned his test batting, his moves as captain and everything that he did. I would love to hear from the critics today - when Dhoni has proved exactly why he is what he is!

  • Vikram on February 24, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    I don't understand why every commentator thinks that the crowds swelling up in the ground today were for Sachin. Probably, it is their duty to hype him up even past his sell-off date. Dhoni happens to play for this team in Chennai, and is popular among the masses quite a bit as well. The last time he batted here in testing conditions, he did well too. So, I am guessing the crowds came in mostly to see Dhoni.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    India will defeat Australia in the 1st test match,no matter what.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Excellent day of test cricket. Only one winner from here lndia!