India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 3rd day

Dhoni plays his defining innings

MS Dhoni played his best Test innings - his maiden double-century - to give India a significant advantage against Australia

Sharda Ugra

February 24, 2013

Comments: 97 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni slaps one onto the leg side, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 3rd day, February 24, 2013
MS Dhoni produced a counter-attacking, noise generating double-hundred © BCCI
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

Australia will recognise the name instantly because it belongs to one of their most famous movies. Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva owned it during his career, but it it only fair it is now handed over. To MS Dhoni who, from today, must be nicknamed "Mad Max."

It has way more street cred than the schmaltzy "Captain Cool" that he is called by the commentariat and is a perfect reflection of the Test innings that will define him: a full tilt, counter-attacking, noise generating double-hundred against Australia in Chennai. It was a calculated, resolute and complete destruction of an opposition's bowling attack, its plans and maybe even its future course of action in this series.

At the end of day three, Dhoni was batting on 206 off 243 balls, his first three-figure knock in Tests since the 144 against West Indies at Eden Gardens in November 2011. India are 515 for 8, 135 ahead on a pitch that is beginning to disintegrate.

In the hour after his arrival, Dhoni shredded Australia's plans of applying pressure through containment, swallowed up their chances of a first-innings lead and exposed their limited bowling resources in this Test. During an innings that spanned more than five hours in the sapping heat of Chennai, cheered on by a multitude of fans who consider him their own, Dhoni turned a potential deficit into a commanding lead.

Several contributions went into making India's tall total - Tendulkar's 81, Virat Kohli's 107 - but Dhoni's innings became the assertion of Indian dominance over the Australian bowlers. The day had begun with a slow opening hour in which only 21 runs were scored because of run-saving fields. After Tendulkar fell, the match suddenly went into turbo gear.

Offspinner Nathan Lyon had begun to get bite off the pitch, the footmarks had created dust-raising roughs and the scoring had been stifled. Within a few balls, Dhoni changed that. Suddenly Michael Clarke had to shuffle his fielders around. It was less cat-and-mouse and more of a smash-and-grab on Australia's plans.

When Dhoni muscled a four down the ground off the seventh ball he faced from Lyon, a short mid-on turned up, leaving deep square leg vacant. The next ball was paddle swept for two to exactly where the deep square could have cut it off. One ball later, Dhoni gathered Lyon from outside off stump and swept him through vacant midwicket. By lunch, with Dhoni at the crease, India scored 67 off 95 balls. Yet it was the gobsmacking post-lunch assault of the new ball, against James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, which emphasised both Dhoni's comfort in his surroundings and his confidence against the bowlers.

The new ball is conventionally considered a testing period for batsmen. At Chepauk today, the hard new ball was given a hard new message: that India, led by Dhoni, were going to come after it. They were helped by the full tosses offered by bowlers struggling to bowl yorkers. Dhoni sent the lethal Pattinson's second ball flying past point for four. Starc went for three fours in an over, and when Henriques replaced him, Dhoni stepped out and clouted a six over extra cover.

In the first seven overs of the new ball, India scored 54 runs; Kohli fell just after completing his century, greedily trying to loft Lyon over mid-on, his mis-hit snatched out of the air by Starc.

Australia were ahead by 56, but Dhoni wasn't going anywhere. He reached his hundred just after tea, stepping out to Peter Siddle as though he was a 120kph bowler and corkscrewing him over square leg for four. Inside the first hour of the final session, Dhoni lost three reasonably equipped lower-order batsmen in Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh and India were 406 for 8. The lead was slender, the tail was not exactly wagging and there was only one way to go.

Every bowler who came at Dhoni in a new spell was spanked to the boundary; as Australia's bowlers and fielders began to fade, if there was a gap to be exploited, it was. In an expertly handled, unbeaten 109-run partnership with No. 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the tailender's contribution was 16. Dhoni's century had come off 119 balls, the race from 100 to 200 took 112.

Dhoni's double-century made him the leading run-scorer among Indian captains across formats, ahead of the biggest of names - Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Tiger Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar. In his last two Test innings, he has produced scores of 99 and 206 and been involved in key partnerships with Kohli.

In Chennai, Dhoni and Kohli put up 128 for the fifth wicket in just over 26 overs; it couldn't have been more different from their 198-run partnership in Nagpur against England. That came after a top-order collapse and was an attempt to extract a scrap of pride from a series that had turned into an unending horror film.

This partnership is a promise of better days. Dhoni's last two significant Test innings have come at No.6 in order to fit in an extra bowler - Jadeja. He played these innings during the shakiest period of his captaincy.

His team was blanked in four-Test series in England and Australia, and suffered a rare home series defeat to England. Dhoni stayed captain because all alternative candidates had either faded away or were too young. Before the series against Australia began, his Test captaincy was on the line. Desperation and survival does, after all, focus the mind.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Gunz on (February 26, 2013, 7:35 GMT)

More than answering anybody, I think he answered you Sharda that he does care for Tests. To be very honest, I agreed with you when you wrote that he doesn't seem to care for Test cricket.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

I am not qualified to criticize any cricketer. But I only see how effective is the batsman hits fours and sixes to entertain the crowds. Kapil Dev was known for electrifying the whole atmosphere whenever he used to appear on the field either as a bowler or a batsman. Doni has filled the gap. Critics who judge him from the theoretical point of view have to change their views as Dhoni has shown as to how to play the shots. he has invented new types of shots. they have to accept his technique and change the theory. hats off to Dhoni for inventing shots alike hialicopater shot and many more such shots.

Someswar

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 25, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

@nyc_missile: That would depend on just how do India lose and just how many more MSD scores (or more imp, in what way he gets out). I would have dropped MSD or asked him to take a break after Aus tour but now that he is doing "Very Well" it would be stupid to drop him or take captaincy away from him if things don't go well. Another side of your question could be that would MSD find a place in team IF he ceases to be the captain? On current form def yes. We don't have another keeper batsman like him and dare I say no one in the world. Prior would come closest but only in away conditions. ABD is a batsman-keeper and is no where as good as MSD a keeper though a classier batsman by several degrees.

Would MSD be a captain IF India lose? If tomorrow India need 95 runs and are a.o. for 75 then it won't be MSD's fault so why should he bear the brunt? If Viru keeps on playing his "Natural Game" for 10 balls per innings then why should MSD pay? Punish him when he is wrong, not otherwise.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 10:58 GMT)

If there is one guy in world cricket other than fast bowlers that needs game management it is Dhoni. He looked knackered against England, it can't be easy keeping, captaining and trying to prop up a failing batting line-up.

He looks totally revitalised with the break between the two series, and that should speak volumes to the BCCI about managing his workload.

Feel sorry for Michael Clarke, he is the outstanding captain of world cricket, but doesn't have the weapons. Even when he masterminds a chance of Kumar with straight bowling and a leg-side field that would have perhaps curtailed the lead, his players don't' back him up and Cowan drops.

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 25, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

@citizenkc: That's what is wrong with fans like you. The ones who are always looking for something that lies away literally and figuratively. Now you are talking of a "True Test" that India will play in SA. Ind already played there in 2010 and did pretty well, didn't we? But for you that does not matter. If India were to do well again in SA then you would say let's see how MSD does in Eng and then you will say let's see how he & Ind do in Aus and so on. Yes Ind have done poorly away in the last 2 years but that does not mean that what Ind does in HOME is not TRUE or REAL. It is as real as anything else. If Starc was hailed as a fearsome bowler in Aus vs WI/SL then he looks to be a pussy bowling here. But the Aussies don't think that way. They know what it means to support one's team. Eng do the same. They will give shameless excuses but will not think the way you are thinking. Why some of us Indians suffer from a weird sense of self where anything we own or are good at must be poor?

Posted by t20-2007 on (February 25, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

The way ppl r using the 'rebuilding' tag for Oz XI..........it has bcom a cliche by now...i guess we will build a bridge to Moon n till thn also Aussies ll keep 'rebuilding' thr team..:P

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 25, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

Not to play a spoil-sport by any means..but I have a hypothetical question..what if Dhoni scores a few more in the series and we lose it 2-1 or 3-1 ? He will still be the captain of the tests for SA ? Dhoni fans-answer it as objectively and unbiasedly as possible.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

In India we are fascinated by word talent in terms of dazzling strokeplay..Instead it should be more used to application of mind on the job, ugly but effecient, physical fitness etc. MSD displayed all that and played a great innings not only in the context of match, series but also how the future unfolds for Indian Cricket. Kudos

Posted by TATTUs on (February 25, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

Great innings from the captain. Probably secured his place for next 10 years!

Posted by 123cric on (February 25, 2013, 3:32 GMT)

No doubt Dhoni has a limitation against swinging ball in alien conditions but no one can question his cricketing acumen. He reads the game better than most. Talent wise he is ordinary but mentally he reads the game very well. He hardly shows emotions or display nerves. It will unfair to expect Dhoni to play this sort of innings on a regular basis but we need to give credit to the guy. Many more talented players have shown lack of application whether it be Yuvraj, Raina or Sharma but come what may Dhoni has always put a price to his wicket.This innings might prove to be a Game changer in this match. Lets hope for an Indian win.

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 25, 2013, 3:26 GMT)

Is someone can;t appreciate this inning, I would say stop watching cricket, because you aren't made for watching cricket. Extremely hot and humid conditions, crumbling pitch, and team trouble and out comes the Helicopter shot and in a flash puts India on a boss seat.

Posted by jasonpete on (February 25, 2013, 3:21 GMT)

Posted by DC75 on (February 24, 2013, 17:33 GMT), you can't blame dhoni for Ishant sharmas oss of form.After his first series here in Australia ,he played IPL straight after and eventually turned in to a different bowler all together.Sreesanth is in and out of team due to injury.Same goes to umesh,that he play one series and misses the rest of the series in that calendar year.Murali karthik was not even in the scene under ganguly era as harbhajan and Kumble used to be the main force.After Kumble retirement ,harbhajan looked out of sort and still they pick him for his past reputation even now and he is a shadow of the past.You can't blame dhoni for Gambhir's similar dismissal s in test cricket ( recent times) and same goes to sehwag for slip catch practises.As an outsider,it amazes me that Indian fans just blame every Indian players batting and bowling woes on dhoni and I don't understand what other team members are even doing on the team in that case.Ridiculous.Good knock dhoni.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

This innings is undigestable for many cricket 'lovers' who oppose Dhoni... Well played Dhoni...

Posted by athota on (February 25, 2013, 3:03 GMT)

Does nt matter who ever says anything..but MSD is the best man to lead india at the moment. It may not sound well to the Mumbaiites and Delhiites but its a fact! He is inarguably talented small town boy who made wonders on the big stage. Those who argue that he is not eligible to be part of the test team cant even show the alternatives. Indian cricket is in safe hands atleast for now. Hail Dhoni! Hail Team India!!

Posted by pratit on (February 25, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

He should always play more or less like this but with better shot selection in seaming pitches. He does not have the technique to defend for long periods anyway. 30 runs off 40 balls is always better than 15 off 40 .

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

This innings was a masterpiece. At a stage where none of the other Indian batsman forget australians were struggling for any kind of consistency, here comes this unorthodox champion and displays his metal. Its ok to have your views but please don't forget, we are the world champions. We won that championship under Dhoni and as many will agree because of Dhoni, and please don't forget we became the No.1 test team under him as well. I have never seen a more committed and determined and not to mention selfless cricketer, who plays for the country than his records. Also, India has lost the last 10 tests because of horrible team performances, Dhoni cannot go and take wickets or score all the runs. Look at other playes here, Shewag doesn't have the same reflexes hence his slogs are not coming off. Gambhir has lost the cricketer inside him, he just does not want to work hard. Bhajji has lost his effeciency and Ashvin, Ojha can only perform per their abilitiy.Can't blame Dhoni for World Crises

Posted by PACERONE on (February 25, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

Dhoni's style of playing aggressive cricket proves that bowlers can be dictated too.Batsmen are hardly CLEAN BOWLED,instead they drag wide and inside edge balls onto their stumps.Some just hang their bats out to be caught in the slipss or by the wicketkeeper.It was good to see a batsman not afraid to attack and play shots of both front and back foot.His driving was impressive.Styen and others can be knocked around.

Posted by LetThereBeLogic on (February 25, 2013, 1:56 GMT)

@Shubhankar Srivastava: No he was run-out on 99 trying to get that hundred.

Posted by ARad on (February 25, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

As a non-Indian, I see DISPROPORTIONATE CRITICISM directed at MSD from a few Indian fans and my guess is that a lot of this has to do with regionalism. (To be fair, this is not limited to India. Whenever the Aussie, WI, etc. teams are announced, you always see disapproving comments since someone from 'my' region is always better than someone who made the team!) Recent Indian performances are results of many factors: transitioning team (aging superstars, inexperienced newcomers,) lack of quality bowlers (if you can't take 20 wkts, you can't win regardless of batting), emphasis on shorter forms (doesn't encourage the type of bowling/batting you need in Tests) and grinding schedule. MSD deserves some criticism for not always being proactive but his stats as a player, comparing the additional burden of WK + captaining, are under-appreciated by some... As a CRICKET FAN, I wish I had been in Chennai yesterday when the fans were treated to an exhilarating performance by 'one of their own'.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 25, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

Well written Ugra. I'm no Dhoni fan. But my my, what a carnage! Let's castigate for the wrongs that he did but let's credit him where it's due. It was absolutely wonderful. Dispatching the quicks with disdain! A confidence sapper for the Aussie bowlers for the rest of the series? Most likely. Congratulations to Dhoni on his fantastic double.

Posted by citizenkc on (February 24, 2013, 22:30 GMT)

@Cpt-Meanster: as I said in my post, we should celebrate a good innings, so of course we should appreciate Dhoni's. However, as you know, scoring overseas on tricky pitches (something batsmen like Gavaskar, Dravid, Laxman and others have done) like Headingley is quite something else. As for your other comment: "This was easily the BEST innings I have ever seen by a test batsman." Well, I grew up in the era of Richards, et al., and I've been lucky enough to see some absolutely super knocks, so yes, I have admired many a knock in my life.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 22:25 GMT)

@ Dhanno. I disagree with your comment mate. I can see where you are coming from but IMO the defining innings in players' careers are those when they realise their full potential and garner outstanding success as a result. Yesterday's innings was just that - it was the culmination of everything that defines MS Dhoni - attacking, lacking in convention, and fiercely determined - all wrapped into a package that currently sits at 206 not out. Hopefully India go on to win this test match. If they do, Dhoni's innings will be remembered for years to come, regardless of what he does in other matches going forward.

Posted by luvindia on (February 24, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

All OZ fans. what is your definition of good pitch. A pitch where only OZ cricketers can score runs and pick wickets ???? ha ha ha he he he :-)

Posted by afs_talyarkhan on (February 24, 2013, 21:30 GMT)

Dhoni is a fine cricketer but he plays too many matches across too many formats. So test cricket is not always on his radar as the priority. Recently though he is showing signs that he understands the pre-eminence of test cricket. Probably the recent defeats.................which just goes to show the benefits of a good drubbing every once in a while. What goes for him also goes for the others......they need to be rested properly and be employed on contracts where they are only allowed to play non-test matches with permission. But it requires gumption to impose such contracts - doubt BCCI will be up to the job.

Posted by sarangsrk on (February 24, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

This innings is much like his knock in WC final where he has seized the initiative from disciplined, focussed aussie bowlers by counter attacking. This has definitely turned the match in India's favour. Don't go overboard praising him..praise him for his focus on the moment, no-nonsense attitude on the field and ability to hit back when the time is right. Thats what makes him special.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 24, 2013, 20:34 GMT)

@Arun Nayar: I totally agree with you man. Some INDIAN fans need to take a good, hard and long look at themselves before commenting on a WONDERFUL and EXCEPTIONAL cricketer - MS Dhoni. I bet half of these commentators wouldn't have even come close to a cricket ground in their lives let alone playing the game. So I would take such comments with a pinch of salt. They are irrelevant. The same applies to all those lousy, ignorant, and mindless ranters who feel that this knock was the result of the pitch being flat. I think it's time to accept that the bowling was toothless along with the below-par batting effort by the Aussie team. It takes a high skill level to bat on such pitches. We all saw Ravindra Jadeja struggle and embarrass himself. The same happened to Ashwin who couldn't get his feet moving. So it's not easy out there. Goes to show, what a player Dhoni can be IF he puts his mind into it.

Posted by Temuzin on (February 24, 2013, 20:22 GMT)

Posted by Arun Nayar on (February 24, 2013, 20:04 GMT) Its sad, that half the nasty comments about Dhoni are coming from the Indian fans itself. Its a shame that the myopic hatred of a player has made these fans incapable of enjoying such fine cricket from our own players!!

Very well said Arun. the anti-Dhoni fans have certainly missed the pure joy Dhoni's inning has created. I liked his batting so much during the game, I saw the highlights one more time and saw fans exhilarated. There was pure joy on their faces. Every shot of Dhoni had generated exhilaration on fans faces so much so that while watching highlights, I forgot to watch shots but focused on fans faces. unbelievable, how happy Chenai fans were yesterday.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 24, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

@citizenkc: WOW ! We have a cricket guru here. So you mean to say a knock in Chennai is not of any value compared to say Lahore, Cape Town, Perth etc. When will some Indians such as yourself LEARN to appreciate a champion innings ???? This was easily the BEST innings I have ever seen by a test batsman and that too from a wicket keeper coming at no.6. It was reminiscent of Adam Gilchrist's knock against England in the 2006 Ashes were he counter attacked England's bowlers and scored a quick hundred. If you cannot appreciate this innings then you will never admire any other knock. Enough with all these pathetic comments about the pitch being flat. It was on the SAME freaking pitch that Australia's below average batsmen failed to score anything significant. So is Michael Clarke's innings irrelevant as well ? Cause I read many people here claim it was one of the best innings they ever seen. After all he ONLY made 130, Dhoni is not out on 206. Take your pick guys.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

Its sad, that half the nasty comments about Dhoni are coming from the Indian fans itself. Its a shame that the myopic hatred of a player has made these fans incapable of enjoying such fine cricket from our own players!!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 24, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

@Alexk400: First, try holding a cricket bat in your hand. Second, go to Chennai's Chepauk stadium early in the morning. Third, put on some batsman's gear. Fourth, try to run the length of the cricket pitch in the heat and humidity all day until 5 pm in the evening. If possible get some state team bowler to bowl to you. I bet you won't last even half the day. This was one of the most destructive innings Dhoni has ever played. Believe me, I don't like test cricket, but watching Dhoni's innings made me enjoy the format for a little while. His attacking and aggressive instincts makes the format look decent. We don't need arm chair pundits and experts here to give us any feedback. So keep your thoughts to yourself.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

@dc75, you feel ishant, bhajji and sreesanth are talented bowlers, who are wasted by dhoni,? you might be a dhoni basher, but this is too much blind bashing dude, Ishant always bowls good line, but never gets wickets, bhajji needs kumble to bowl at other end to perform well, sreesanth, lesser said about him is good for all, in between dhoni introduced some good bowlers from villages or small towns who are very good prospect but currently some are injured, umesh, varun aaron, etc, some good bowlers in line too, awana, I pandey, b kumar, etc, so better you wake up from sleep

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 24, 2013, 19:53 GMT)

So Dhoni scored a 100 after 1.5 yrs.Good.He scored it at home.Not so great.Finally he justified his place as a batsman in the test side.Now let him win some games for a change before jumping up and down about this innings which was indeed a thrilling one.To me nothing can wipe out the disasters we suffered under his captaincy.Its still 10-1 in the last 12 tests against quality opposition..so he is far far from making amends to that ignominy especially in terms of captaincy.

Posted by Leggie on (February 24, 2013, 19:43 GMT)

The Chennai pitch is traditionally good for batting on days 2 and 3, and India was lucky that the opposing captain didn't realize this and batted first. Nevertheless, one cannot take away any credit from this splendid innings of Dhoni. It's not always required that runs be scored only on fast, swinging conditions. Chennai pitch on day 2/3 was no different than a day 3/4 pitch in either Adelaide or Sydney. If this knock is to be criticized that it was against a mediocre attack, what should one say against the 300s and 200s that Pup scored in Australia against the weakest of the weak attack, or the 200 that KP scored against a 3 man bowling attack last year. In the context of the match, this was a GREAT innings by any standards - irrespective of the outcome of the match.

Posted by Ramski1 on (February 24, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

A classic example of zero to hero, lets put a little perspective to things. 1. India are playing at home (conditions we already know they are much more confortable in) 2. They have prepared a slow tuning track (playing to their strengths) 3. Australia dont have a Test quality spinner. 4. Australia dont have any world class quicks (which would be needed on a pitch like this)

This was a very good innings from MSD (not a great innings). Regardless of weather India win this series, the fact remains their batsmen struggle against mediocre opposition away from home and good opposition at home.

Posted by surpasstx on (February 24, 2013, 19:22 GMT)

I find it laughable that some people here claim that Dhoni is a "flat-track bully" and that he was "his swashbuckling best on dead sub-continental wickets". An Oz team that boasts of the best batsman this year, (Clarke) a devastating opener (Warner), a proven and solid no 4. (Watson) was unable to handle the same pitch and put up enough runs to challenge this flat-track bully. Let's see them survive this flat track when they bat the second time.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

Some of these comments are outrageously funny, considering the fact that Dhoni is the captain and he is supposed to play according to situation doing whatever it takes, whether it by 'desperate batting', 'ugly batting'... or whatever. Dhoni had defined his character way back even before he became captain. He still has it. This is a team sport and he doesn't seem to care about how 'elegantly' he bats and how many records he is going to break. That is exactly what India need especially in a place where personal records (and... Gods..) are too important for players and fans (than winning the game itself) and has a corrupt selection system.

Posted by satchander on (February 24, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

@swingit...I was asking myself the same set of questions. While Doni's innings y'day was great but I again brought the conditions into the equation - indian subcontinent plus turning track means no swing or bounce for fast bowlers means limited footwork to play fast bowlers and thats what Dhoni is. His footwork is good enough on subcontinent pitches and he can be destructive as shown y'day but what happens on tours to Aus, Eng, SA and NZ where he is always going to struggle. When are we going to look at ways to get players to play well both overseas and in home conditions??? or have we resigned ourselves to the fact that we will get to see majestic 200s from out batsmen in subcontinent and then see them getting humiliated in overseas conditions...

Posted by citizenkc on (February 24, 2013, 19:01 GMT)

Undoubtedly this is an outstanding knock, but we need to contextualize it. If these runs were scored in Cape Town, Headingley, Perth, or Lahore, they would be much more significant. There wasn't much in the pitch for Australia's bowlers, and frankly, none of them looked like world beaters. Having said that, it was a notable innings. Playing 5 bowlers means that there wasn't much to come after Dhoni. If he had got out cheaply, India could have conceded a lead of 150 runs. I saw Dhoni take on an excellent Pakistan bowling attack at Eden Gardens last month. No one has ever doubted his talent. If he can become a consistent number 6 that would enable us to play 5 bowlers (bowling is where our real weakness is). After all, there are no legitimate number 6 batsmen out there. The true test for us awaits when we play SA in their home turf at the end of the year. Only then will we find out whether any of this means anything, but meanwhile there is nothing wrong in celebrating a terrific innings.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 24, 2013, 18:56 GMT)

Another glorified slogger in dead pitch. Ball do not even bounce to knee. Its like soaking sponge or something. Minute its touches ground..it apply brakes. He is good at this pitches like sehwag but sehwag is now blind. hahahaha

Posted by Aussasinator on (February 24, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

DHONI'S MASSACRE of the much lauded Pattinsons, Siddles and Lyons today has left the Aussies shell shocked.even Dhoni's fifties have been invaluable, and this double has changed the complexion of the game. Unbelievable knock played like a true champion. But if the bowlers dont utilise this supreme counter assault then dont blame the India captain. its just that he has a lousy team.

Posted by regofpicton on (February 24, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

Dhoni to me was a revelation - i've never seen the strike farmed so convincingly, so consistently, so apparently effortlessly. And how appropriate that is was all done on what sounds like a ploughed field . . .

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

Be it mohammad hafeez or graeme swann. be it saeed ajmal, nathan lyon or any other spinner. When any tweaker tosses a flighted delivery in front of mahi's eyeline, I look for covers. & I am not in in the stands, so go figure. the man is like steven seagal against thugs - only five times more ruthless & ten times more brutal.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

well played dhoni, kohli, sachin hope to win this test & series both

Posted by Swingit on (February 24, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

Wow what an innings...wait it minute it's on what pitch on what country? PLEEEZE! The only defining thing about Dhoni is he goes about his swashbuckling best on dead subcontinental wickets against inexperienced attacks. Where was he when England was in? Where is that batting when India is in England Australia or South Africa. And what exactly is that innings going to define? That he made a double or triple century in a match that is going to limp to a tame draw because the Aussies are still going to be able to put at least 400 on the board for the loss of 5 wickets and bat out the match. The only thing good about this innings by Dhoni is it will mercifully eclipse another average innings by SRT that Indians fans were going to use to justify his continued selfish refusal to let new blood take his place. This is no VVS or Dravid innings.

Posted by Armoured_cricket on (February 24, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

Another flat-track bully.......against a re-building OZ team

Posted by bestXIwarrriors on (February 24, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

very well played by core players except Sehwag who seemed to be under pressure and trying to restrict himself by playing his own game. good to see Sachin, Kohli and Dhoni's contribution. hoping to see the result of the match. ashwin will be supported by bhajji in the spin contribution.

Posted by uksar on (February 24, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

Recently few cricket fans have questioned about Dhoni's batting ability in Test cricket. First of all if I judge him as a wicket keeper batsman, I have not seen any Indian wicket keeper batsman scored more than him nor have an average better than him in Test cricket. 2ndly as a test captain, he has already become one of the leading run scorers along with the legend batsman captains of India. Probably the best ever Indian captain captaining one of the weakest team. As far as ODI is concerned no captain is near to him. Carry on MSD.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

Very few times in the history of cricket there have been knocks which have changed a course of a series..... Dilip sardesai's double hundred against the west indies in 1971,Viv Richards 140 against the Australians in 79-80, Ian Bothams 3rd ashes test in '81, Steve waughs century in the first test of the 1989 Ashes, Tendulkars 155 vs Aus at Chennai in 97-98, Laxmans very very special at eden , Saurav Ganguly's 144 at brisbane in 2003,Alister cooks 235 in ashes 2010 -11 first test match......... Will Dhoni's double century today join these elite knocks.......I sincerely hope it can rewrite history......

Posted by FormerMiner on (February 24, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

On January 17th the author of this article wrote a scathing commentary on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's leadership wondering capriciously if he was even committed to Test Cricket. Bolstering her argument was some off the cuff comment from Dhoni's days before he even donned an India Jersey, about how boring he thought "days" cricket was. Dhoni's career since those early days has several instances that should point to the immaturity of that comment. Yet, the author used it. It was her grand thesis that Dhoni was an unfit Test captain. So every little dirt one could unearth was kosher to employ in the perfidy. Miraculously today she think he played a "defining" innings. Not only is MS on the cusp of being the winnigest Indian Test captain ever, he is also catching up - as captain - to be the second on batting aggregate and average! Not bad for an "uncommitted" Test captain with a resume of wins in two world cups, an Asia cup, Australian Triangular and leading India to #1 Test and ODI Rankings!

Posted by DC75 on (February 24, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

@Sathish Velu, I qulaified my statement with whatever meagre talent that India has, I think you need to wake up and read the comment. Dhoni as captain has not nurtured Ishant, who had a outgoing delivery which he has lost, Umesh, Sreesanth, Harbhajan, Murali Karthik and so on. I remember an article comparing Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Sami, it is not the pace that matters but the skill of the bowler to outthink a batsman. Vernon Philander bowls around 130K but still is very successful bowler in a team that has Steyn and Morkel. In the absence of great bowlers, the captain has to ensure that whatever meagre bowling options that he has are utilized as best as possible. Dhoni does this tremendously well in ODIs but in Tests, he just wastes bowlers, repeatedly.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

didnt Dhoni just score a 100 in the last match against England?

referring to -

At the end of day three, Dhoni was batting on 206 off 243 balls, his first three-figure knock in Tests since the 144 against West Indies at Eden Gardens in November 2011.

Posted by luvindia on (February 24, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

This is the defining innings in Dhoni's career. Now it is upto the bowlers to make it as defining innings of the match.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

@Dhanno-Of course the jury is still out,but I think with the little signs and hints,that this phase could very well chart a different course for the Indian captain...defining innings is a possibility,a distinct one by the looks of it.

Posted by xylo on (February 24, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

I am still waiting on the 200th test for Sachin, so that the team can dump him. I believe Harbhajan can look forward to "showing how cricket is played" as a 12th man for the rest of the series. Sehwag might have to go back to his optometrist as well. Gambhir and Ojha replacing Sehwag and Harbhajan looks to be natural course. The BCCI will do well to arrange some team to visit India so that Sachin's 200th test happens soon, and he is sent off the team.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

No doubt Dhoni played probably best innings of his life in his entire Test career. Scoring double hundred in a day is not a joke. It needs lot of patience and stamina to do that. His calculated counter attack against the Aussie bowlers especially during new ball was really a master stroke. He batted selfishly and sensibly. When he was on 149 he could have easily taken a single to reach to his landmark but he didn't. He didn't want to expose Bhuvaneswar Kumar (BK) much. In spite of getting tired and exhausted, he took majority of the strike even during last over of the day. BK also deserves to be appreciated for his innings. He didn't give away his wicket and did accordingly as his Captain desired for. Dhoni would be very much satisfied with BK's sensible batting approach and equally be disappointed with Bhajji's immature shot selection. Let us see how our spinners perform in the second innings and give us a much needed victory and happiness.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

nxt test match there r 3 changes vijay,sehwag n h.ssingh out instead of sehwag rahane come he is good filder v/s sehwag n vijay go dhawan in so in opening stand left and right combination....ojha come our spinners strenght improves...............

Posted by muski on (February 24, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

Well the GODS have NOT yet let go of the Jumping Jack- have they?.As they say, we are masters of our destiny and MSD proved it in flesh and blood that he is there to stay as Indian captain for some more time come what may.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (February 24, 2013, 16:09 GMT)

This innings will show that this is what Dhoni is capable of doing as a batsman. In fact I am a firm believer that Dhoni must play only in Tests and that not as the Captain. I am sure that his best will serve India well for the next five years at least if this is done. The cares of captaincy has reduced the impact of an impact player.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

Great Knock Dhoni. Superlative, no other words to describe the knock I am one of your detractors, not that I doubt your abilities, rather I feel that you have entered a comfort zone as far as captaincy is concerned, hence feel you can do no wrong. The bold captain has gone missing, rather the captain with the defensive mindset, used to having his own ways (for too long the problem with all skippers of Indian team) has taken over. I feel you should let someone else take over the captaincy in the five day format and enjoy the game. Also why not another wicket keeper to replace you in Tests/ODIs/T 20s (it will ensure longevity and also give a chance to another talent).

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

@dc75, dhoni wasted the bowling talent india had????, ha ha ha what a joke? India had good pace bowlers, when did it happened?, knock knock, it already 8 am, get up from your sleep, stop dreaming!!

Posted by Beertjie on (February 24, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

"Captain Cool" is no Mad Max or Desperate Dan, at least according to VVS. Hats off to him for his game changing knock! I'm afraid @anandjuly15 on (February 24, 2013, 14:44 GMT) that "this Australian team is neither greatly "talented [nor] experienced in these conditions." As a devoted fan I wrote them off as soon as the team was announced. No savvy in selections nor appreciation of the needs of different conditions. Just clutching at straws as they did when they lost the Ashes at home. Still, out of disaster something good may emerge - new guys gain experience and may blossom in the long run.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (February 24, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

This is indeed a defining inning by Dhoni. Dhoni was in great form in the ODIs against England and now he is translating that form into Tests. The way Dhoni started off, trying to put off Nathan Lyon, changed the complexion of the game. There were a few footmarks outsie the off-stump, which Lyon was trying to exploit; he was successful in exploiting those by getting rid off Tendulkar. However, Dhoni repeatedly came down the track trying to take the ball on the full so that the ball doesn't get a chance to turn from the footmarks. That was very good thinking by Dhoni. Now India has a real chance of winning this Test match. Kudos to Dhoni!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

well done MSD. but credit goes to Bhuvi also who stayed their to support his skipper unlike bhajji on debut. well done guys.

Posted by jay_vkjay on (February 24, 2013, 15:51 GMT)

DHONI's turned the total course of the 5 day game in just 2 and half sessions! India is very much in driver's seat now. But the way Harbhajan got out is just a confirmation that he won't figure in final XI at Hyderabad. Jadeja too disappointed and wasted a good opportunity. All praise to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar...

Posted by Shhy on (February 24, 2013, 15:51 GMT)

@Sharda, you are being harsh here in calling Jadeja a reasonably equipped lower order batsmen, agreed he did bat like one today, but his FC average is greater than 50 and even though he has scored the bulk of his runs in the batting paradise of Rajkot, he has done what no one in indian FC cricket ever has, ie scoring 3 triple centuries and that by no means an easy achievement, the man has played only 2 test innings in the international level, please cut him some slack, give him a chance to learn and a chance to prove his capability, he may or may not succeed, but getting judgemental after 2 innings is not the hallmark of a seasoned writer..

Posted by RISHI2016 on (February 24, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

not long before the very same writer had suggested if the skipper had the intent of playing the tests? hope she has got the answer

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

@ramesh shah, have you seen the innings are not, what I like about dhoni is his selflessness, he is not even celebrating his own milestone, even or 100 or 200, he was looking exhausted on 199, even he made a quick single and then he is going for the 2nd run too, when it was a slight overthrow, how many guys will do the same, we all saw batsman celebrating their 100's and 50's the next second the run was made, even dhoni didnt went for a single at 149, because it was 2nd ball of an over, even he didnt removed the helmet to celebrate his 100 or 200, how many will do this????

Posted by CricinfoCommentary on (February 24, 2013, 15:40 GMT)

B Kumar looks more accomplished batsman than Harbhajan

Posted by VickGower on (February 24, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

There are two type of fans: the fair weather ones whose knees are always jerking, and those who trust a good sportsperson, and stick by him through tough times. This innings by Dhoni is a tribute to the latter kind of fans. The true fan. I congratulate them as well and expect/rejoice to see them on this forum today. Dhoni's leadership and wicketkeeping skills alone, to us, make him a super asset through this transition phase India is going through. To us he was already good even without such an innings But if this is what it takes for such forums to get repreive from fair weather fans, then so be it.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:32 GMT)

dhoni has gone on the attack right from the word go .he was intially just a bit tentitive and wary but that was only for a short duration,it was a silence waiting to come for quite some time now. it was a sstorm that was waiting to spread its wings.dhoni was successful because be did not got bock down. attacking dhoni is the toast of the day .there are only few cricketers who has the raw talent in them to produce a decicine and possibly a match winning innings. you have gone back to you natural attacking play and that was the beautiy of your play today.you took on the spinner straight away . dhoni produced the best innings at chennai in terms of power hitting you are rigth at the top.there was no great satisfaction for the spectators &the fans that theeir favorite son made it in their own backyard. power hitting at its very very best plus attacking batsmanship rellaly has made you a proper batsman who can come at no6 provided everything goes right for team india. m.s.d. you rock

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

Dhoni should bat like one day in test, results would come. Like Kapil, whenever he got going it always altered the course of the match. With so much power at his disposal Dhoni should unleash it with out much bothering

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (February 24, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

MSD is the best odi batsman and he was always a good test player but what we saw today was unlike dhoni.....dhoni always takes time to settle and then attack the opposition but today it was different,he was aggressive from the start and he kept punishing the aussie bowlers.....if we thought harbhajan was the worst spiiner in this test match, well lyon proved that he is worse than bhajji and i'm sure that lyon will never toss the ballup to dhoni...WHAT AN INNINGS THAT WAS,one of the best i have seen in recent times....when it comes to power hitting not many people can match dhoni....cricinfo pls publish

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

I think the most important point is that Dhoni looks keener to improve as a test batsman,and what more looks hungry for runs.We all know how he has perfected the job of a finisher in ODIs,but there's also an appetite,a voracious one at that,to score runs every time he walks out to bat.This was previously missing from his test game.Maybe because he felt inadequate with his technique.When you are not in the right frame of mind and beset with doubt,you struggle most of the time.Test cricket just didn't look like the skipper's cup of tea,especially when faced with quality bowling. It would be premature to draw a lot from his last two innings,but on these two occasions he has shown the compactness,concentration,and appetite that are necessary at the test level.It might not be against the seaming,bouncing ball,but he has scored,where others have found the going difficult,and that's a big positive,and a small step by the captain towards becoming a better test batsman.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (February 24, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

Henriques who is a batsmen & then bowler bowls at 135kmph & india's frontline bowler sir Ishant Sharma bowls at 135kmph with a long run up... pattison touches 150kmp & his average speed is 140kmp..its really amazing how Australians could produce such fast bowlers & how india could produce such " So called Fast Bowlers"..if, with this bowling attack India tours SA, SA batting order reads 4 figure no for the first time in test history...its better we speak less about MSD today...simply unbelivable...

Posted by DC75 on (February 24, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

I have criticized Dhoni as a walking wicket and I still believe he is a walking wicket outside the sub continent. Having said that this was a great innings like the ODI WC innings or the one against Pakistan. The frustrating thing about Dhoni is he does not bring his A game consistently in Test Cricket and especially outside SC. His captaincy is still not up to the mark, he has repeatedly wasted good bowling talent (whatever meagre talent that India has) and I feel he does not know how to handle the bowlers or nurture them in test cricket. The same goes with his field setting and attacking options in Test Cricket. If he bats like today and is more consistent in his batting then obviously he is the greatest asset that India can have, however it does not fill the gaps that he has with respect to captaincy in test cricket.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

MSD has always bean the team man.. even when he was in 190's, he shielded Bhuvi from strike and did not take singles for his own ambition.. He is a great captain who manages his bowling from the bare minimum he has.. For foreign tours I think, Jadeja should be replaced by Irfan Pathan.. he bats and was in good form with the ball, but got injured.. he is India's best all rounder.. But today was all abt MSD, what an innings by the captain..

Posted by realfan on (February 24, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

once SHRADHA UGRA wrote article about dhoni not committed to test cricket and again in just a matter of days she praises him in another article of test innings..... now thats the perfect way of answering for questions asked.....isnt it....

sorry shradha , i mean no disrespect to you......

Posted by Angry_Bowler on (February 24, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

"Desperation and survival does, after all, focus the mind." Really for Dhoni? I think this is true for Ugra, as she writes sometimes clueless columns.

Posted by bumsonseats on (February 24, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

sathish velu they are on here and the other report pages on cricinfo the ones who are praising him now are the same who said he was useless. 1 innings does not make him great. but in india it does

Posted by realfan on (February 24, 2013, 15:14 GMT)

its like almost dhoni's day.... when he wants to attack and scored runs he did.... when he wants to defend and he defended well..... and when he wants to take single of last ball to save bhuvaneshwar he did almost every over.....and he needed to accelerate he did that....... and all this without even at a spot of bother...... now thats the perfect test captain's match turning innings...... i will give it 5 out of 5........

Posted by scorbos15 on (February 24, 2013, 15:13 GMT)

Desperation and survival does, after all, focus the mind.

I knew author "Sharda Ugra" would end the article this way - as author absolutely never was able to analyse Dhoni, he is same - always responsible on what he does, people take time to realize..woudlnt argue more here..

Good try to cover up your previous articles against mighty "Dhoni" - dont even come close to Dhoni..

You arent even worth discussing the heriocs of Dhoni.. God bless Dhoni for giving him to Indian Cricket....

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

This is the same sports rider who posted an article about Dhoni's nonchalant attitude towards test cricket and that he doesnt care for Test cricket at all. Now all this praise is little too hard too digest from this writer. A great innings by Dhoni by the way.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

"dhoni is invincible in odi's, now he is transforming that into tests also, wooow, what an innings,"

Calm down Satish Velu.

Posted by agam99 on (February 24, 2013, 15:06 GMT)

@sweetspot....very aptly answered

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:56 GMT)

all the talk about dhoni being "out of form " all this while. he was never out of form.he was "out of india". he is right back in.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

hello Dhoni haters where are you guys now, no comments, no snide remarks. What a shame

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

This innings could spin the fortunes of MSD the batsman in tests, however much would be desired from him in captaincy department, where if ably supported by bowlers could bring in another glorious era for Indian cricket. Hope India finds quality pacers who can sustain the rigors of international cricket and IPL. On Indian pitches, presence of Umesh is deeply missed. He can be very effectivel with reverse swing and uneven bounce. It is high time Ishant ups his game in tests, after his performance in the ODIs against England much was expected off him. For SA tour, my bowling attack would more or less be Ishant, Umesh, Shami/Sreesanth, Ashwin and Bhuvnesh taking the role of Jadeja.

Posted by anandjuly15 on (February 24, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

Few points. Probably am making this comments too early or in hindsight this Australian team is the least experienced in years to land on the Indian shores. They might be talented but definitely not experienced in these conditions. Do not think they can go on win the series.But who knows i might be proved wrong as many were by English team.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

All hail dhoni, where are these dhoni bashers, come on guys, dhoni is invincible in odi's, now he is transforming that into tests also, wooow, what an innings, I expect a final assault tomorrow morning, dont get surprised, if he goes past 250 or even 300 before lunch and declare

Posted by pull_shot on (February 24, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

few weaks before same author has questioned dhoni's commitment phew these media people will write any thing.............

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

Sharda, you haven't forgotten the feeling after he kept you all waiting for 2 hours by playing football:) In this moment where you should give him where it is due, you had to be nasty - "Desperation and survival does, after all, focus the mind."

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

i dont think this is about desperation or survival for Dhoni, yes, results have not been in favour and his captaincy may be on the line but I think he batted the way he did is to show those top order players on those defeats that batting is easy..how they should have batted against England at home. yes, there was only Lyon and no panesar and Swann but still there were pattinson, starc and Siddle to deal with and they are no pop gun attack..captains innings..

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

"Dhoni's double-century made him the leading run-scorer among Indian captains across formats, ahead of the biggest of names - Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Tiger Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar. "

this is Dhoni's hard slap on the faces of all the people who have been critizing him.

Posted by joel4uonly on (February 24, 2013, 14:22 GMT)

This same author was questioning Dhoni's commitment towards Test cricket few months back...!!!! knows how to get publicity...:)

Posted by sweetspot on (February 24, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

All true and good, except the last line I'm afraid. Dhoni was never desperate, will never consider cricket the be all and end all of his self, and is far too focussed on the task at hand that he really does live in the present. As far as survival goes, really, does MSD really look worried about that?

All the time after the World Cup, the last time we saw Dhoni taking full charge of the situation, he allowed his team enough space to grow and pick up their slack. In those seven tests he lost as captain overseas, his team didn't get to work. In this test, they did their job, but MSD really understood he had to take charge yet again. This Dhoni can switch on at will, and impose himself on any opposition at any time. The only question that really had to be asked was how much he wanted this sort of energy from himself in Test cricket. That question seems to be answered now. It's that simple, Ms. Ugra.

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India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
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