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

Kohli lauds Dhoni special

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 24, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and MS Dhoni were in a century stand, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 3rd day, February 24, 2013
MS Dhoni at No. 6 might be the trick that works for India in Tests, says Virat Kohli © BCCI
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni | Virat Kohli
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

It is not often a Virat Kohli century can be outshone or overshadowed. At its best, it is usually an exquisite construction of beauty, timing, balance and precision. But given that his captain had taken ownership of an entire day with an innings of utter dominance, Kohli fittingly opened his media interaction with a statement before taking questions. "First I'll speak on the captain's innings," he said.

He called M S Dhoni's 206 not out, "a great display of batting" in "temperament, hitting the ball cleanly and assessing the situation." When asked whether No. 6 was an ideal batting position for Dhoni going into the future, he said it "might be the trick that will work with the batting order for us."

Kohli did say he had not seen him batting at No. 6 often. He said Dhoni at No. 7 spot doesn't have enough time to get big runs. "People started doubting his Test batting, because he wasn't getting ample opportunities. If the team is five down, you have to negotiate the pressure, then you expect the guy to get a hundred every four games. It's pretty difficult."

The No. 6 position would give Dhoni, Kohli said, "ample opportunity to get settled and analyse the situation. Once he's settled, he is one of the most experienced guys to play with the lower order, he knows how to play with the tail. So yes, that's a huge difference he could make at No. 6 going ahead in Test matches."

Kohli said it was easier to maintain the tempo of an innings like today in ODIs where he had seen Dhoni score 183 against Sri Lanka batting at No. 3. "It's very easy to go for your shots in one-dayers. You don't have to think too much when you're in that kind of flow. But [in Tests] to actually analyse the situation, to play with the tailender, to take strike when wanted, to defend when wanted, hit the ball when needed… in Test matches it's not easy to bat with the lower order and to get a double hundred is a commendable thing."

Kohli said India had played the day much like they had planned it. They had expected Australia to use reverse swing with the old ball in the first session. "Pattinson was bowling really well with the old ball, reversing at pace. We decided to give respect to the bowlers bowing well. We knew if we batted the whole day, we'll have a considerable lead and we'll be in a great position in this Test. It was all about giving respect to good bowling and capitalising later on loose deliveries which MS and I were able to do."

Dhoni, he said had come out to bat with a clear idea about his approach. "He didn't want to talk about the game, he didn't want to talk about cricket. He said just talk about something else to me." His instructions to Kohli were simple: "Don't ask about how the wicket was, how the bowling was, nothing. He was pretty relaxed and calm so he didn't want to talk a lot about the game. He was pretty sure what he wanted to do out in the middle."

Australia paid heavily going in with a single specialist spinner, Kohli said, as the wicket had begun to break on day three. After it had "evened out and eased up" on day two, he got one ball from Nathan Lyon shooting under his bat and the other hitting him on the chest. "I was pretty surprised with how quickly the wicket was coming off. If they [Australia] had more slow bowlers in the team you would have seen the difference of that wicket. The spinners are going to get a lot of turn and bounce tomorrow with the hard ball. That's going to be the crucial thing - the wicket is getting roughed up by the day."

Speaking of his own batting, Kohli said he had been disappointed to get out soon after his hundred and called it, "this block I am facing - when I get 100 I get out." He said, "As a batsman you would love to get big runs when you've scored century from a tough situation, you don't want to throw it away." His dismissal today - caught at mid-on by Mitchell Starc off Lyon - came because he got too close to the ball.

"I was disappointed I got out. But I knew I wanted to go for that shot, so I went for it hundred percent. But I got too close to the ball and just didn't get the elevation. But next time you can only learn from mistakes. I'll try and erase all these errors that I have been doing after getting centuries."

Kohli said the century, the fourth of his Test career, had brought him extra pleasure as it followed a poor run against England and Pakistan. He had taken time away from the game to get ready for Australia. "Sometimes you just need to get away from the game and get your mind fresh and get back on track. I was feeling hungry for this series. I was eagerly waiting to get into the field and bat and feeling that is important for a cricketer."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

its was a real team effort... one should not also dwarf the innings' of Pujara & Sachin as they set the tone after a shaky start... also spinners did a good job...

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

Great innings by Dhoni. It doesn't matter whether he succeeded in Australia or not, he produced a great innings when it mattered most. We are discussing his innings not if he is the greatest batsman. BTW, Virat played a good innings, but I didn't like the way he got out. After scoring a century, he should have taken a fresh guard, put his down and started his innings all over again. He should try to emulate Rahul Dravid not SRT. In future, India will be depending lot more on Pujara and Kholi.

Posted by Simoc on (February 25, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

Surely one of the great test innings. Dhoni in with India maybe slightly under par but was assertive throughout in breaking even then taking control. Kohli of course is talking the pitch down for Oz batsmen benefit but so far it is apparent that if you get in a big score is possible. Spinning is a mind game but batsman need to move their feet. The Indians took on Lyon and have done ok but he has no support. He is as good a bowler as Ashwin who got 7 wickets. That says the Oz batting is weak apart from Watson and Clarke and the selectors are stupid.

Posted by anparhdehaati on (February 25, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

@BradmanBestEver: Your team's attack is not inexpreienced. Young, yes... but it is not lacking in any respect. Pattinson, Starc, Cummins have shown signs of beyond their age. After getting wickets on Chennai track, you can not ignore the capability of fast bowler. Moreover, going by Dhoni's run of form in tests and way of playing, It is big achievement that he hit double, totally worth crowing about @Deepal Karunaratne: "Indian Batters can perform like this only on their flat wickets" ... ? Our batters were not doing that even on flat tracks in past few home series. So yes, they are at least back in groove.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2013, 3:07 GMT)

no indian batsman can deliver as expected on fast tracks unless he is a superhuman. we've grown playing on slow tracks and its impossible to deliver the same under fast conditions when compared to the other way around. if its possible bcci should think of preparing fast tracks in india.

Posted by satishchandar on (February 25, 2013, 2:30 GMT)

Please stop the FLAT WICKET syndrome. Call them as "Test" wickets for bowlers. Should fast bowlers always bowl on grassy, juicy, bouncy wickets? Who is going to test them? Let them learn the technique of reverse swing and come to bowl in these conditions. You can't be spoonfed always.

Posted by CricketFirstLove on (February 25, 2013, 1:54 GMT)

This is what I like about Dhoni. When the occasion demands he comes forward to take the pressure and diffuses it. He is bringing in the best of T20 and ODI in Tests with a strike rate of 86. He is an amazing guy as a batsman and as a leader. His class is different. He plays all the strokes in the book and out of it including his helicopter shot - his very own invention as the hoick of Azharuddin over the extra cover or mid off. But his helicopter shot is on the on side. Love you Dhoni. Cricket lovers all over the world love you. Keep up the good work.

Posted by ARad on (February 25, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

I am going to quote what Kohli said again: "Sometimes you just NEED TO GET AWAY FROM THE GAME AND GET YOUR MIND FRESH and get back on track. I was feeling HUNGRY for this series. I was eagerly waiting to get into the field and bat and feeling that is important for a cricketer." HELLO ICC & BCCI ADMINISTRATORS! Are you listening? When we have endless cricket (especially a lot meaningless ODIs &T20s), you are reducing the VALUE of cricket to the players AND fans. Someone, with constant reminder from astute JOURNALISTS, must show LEADERSHIP in this matter because eventually, if all we get is a lot of LOW QUALITY Cricket, don't expect us to STICK around for too long without switching to a different sport 'BRAND'. When we do, the sponsors won't stick around and the marketing folks who merely do number crunching WITHOUT A VISION or PASSION for cricket, will only come up with some excuse or just go 'oops'.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (February 25, 2013, 1:34 GMT)

Incredible and wonderful innings by Dhoni !

I also thought Tendulkar and Pujara batted beautifully !

Congrats to Kohli also - although I feel he took "impetus" (along with strike ) from Tendulkar on 2nd afternoon.

Posted by goldeneraaus on (February 25, 2013, 1:29 GMT)

cpt. meanster- i think dhonis innings was amazing given his aggression BUT after we all saw Dhoni painfully out of his depth in Australia and then suddenly score a double hundred in INDIA, you cant blame us for attributing it somewhat to the slower flatter wickets

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

Guess Kohli forgot to mention that Dhoni @ no.6 on Indian subcontinent. I am an Indian cricket fan but I dont really get carried away by one major innings.. While Kohli decided to have to interview to gain a few brownie points in the eyes of MSD... Honestly, it was one of the best MSD innings in test matches but lets face it he does not have the ability to face swinging ball at pace.. he won't be any useful in perth or headingly or durban... To wrap it up... brilliant innings in the context of the match but lets not get overboard especially since the test ain't over yet... and honestly if Australia manage to draw this series with this young side.. it is definately a plus for them

Posted by soorajiyer on (February 25, 2013, 0:14 GMT)

Just acknowledge that scoring on spinning tracks is as difficult as scoring on a bouncy wicket. It took Aussies best batsman (probably the best test batsman right now worldwide) to score a hundred here and dont cringe about DRS - BCCI didnt agree and thats not Clarke's problem.

And anybody who thinks Dhoni was out to Pattinson - please read cricinfo commentary pasted here.

And its hilarious to find Srilankan fans coming here and asking for the team to get runs on Bouncy pitcches!!! ROFL :)

Posted by class9ryan on (February 25, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

The Indian greats of Dravid, Tendulkar, VVS knew the art of batting overseas but even they took their time to settle in international cricket. I am quite sure after 2 years our youngsters will also start batting well in overseas conditions.

Dhoni's innings can well be a turning point in his test career. I see know reason he could in top 20 in test batsmen rankings. He can be india's weapon overseas as well if he can cope playing pitched up balls well and he's very good against the short ball as well.

Posted by ANONS on (February 24, 2013, 21:05 GMT)


"100.2: Pattinson to Dhoni, no run, lovely slower ball at 122ks. It has done Dhoni in, has drawn a huge appeal for lbw. Dhoni shows the bat immediately, but not sure if there is an edge. Pitched on off, doesn't cut in much, hits him on the thigh of the back leg, but it is bent. Replays show an inside edge, though. Another good call from Dharma"

Backfire total, lol.

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 24, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

Well done to the entire Indian team on what has been done so far. A gutsy display by all. Something that has been missing in our last few series. Us fans dont mind seeing the team lose, but display FIGHTING SPIRIT always.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 24, 2013, 20:43 GMT)

@BradmanBESTEver: Man, that was high on the back foot and was missing the stumps. Unlike Pup's decision which was a clear inside edge bat 'n' pad to the silly point fielder. Even a blind person would have given that out. Respect to Dharmasena, but that was a huge error on his part. This is why many Indian fans such as myself want the DRS implemented.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 24, 2013, 20:25 GMT)

Cpt.Meanster - you obviously missed the absolutely plumb lbw that was given not out against Pattinson

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (February 24, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

Put it into context - the guy scored a test double hundred on a road against an inexperienced and unbalanced bowling attack. If he had done it against England recently, that would be worth crowing about

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

@Deepal Karunaratne dont worry about Indian batter's bad phase and the way our batters performed from 2000 till 2010 outside the subcontinent, no other team even came close to it. you should worry more about srilanka - When was the last time you won a test in England, SA or Aus? Do you even remember - Guess you are going to check it on statsguru now LOL

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 24, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

@Deepal Karunaratne: OH COME ON !! I caught hold of the highlights this morning. Dhoni played an absolutely PERFECT innings. There were no second chances for Dhoni unlike Clarke. And stop with the lame argument of flat pitches already. As Shane Warne put it: " there are no flat wickets", it takes precision skills and efficient mindset to score runs in cricket irrespective of the kind of pitch. I am sick and tired of hearing of the same old lame criticism directed towards champion Indian batsmen for far too long. Come up with a better criticism of our players next time. Dhoni, you CHAMPION, what a knock !!!!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

@Deepal Karunaratne - just for your statistical knowledge .. Indian batsmen, for the majority of 2000s, have performed just as well in Australia, England and SA too. Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly and Sehwag all have centuries in all or two out of three of these countries. They have drawn away series in Aus, SA and won in Eng.Of course, they're in transition now and don't have the same quality and the recent record bears that out. But contrast that with SL's top guns: Sanga, Jaya, Dilshan or Samaraweera's away record - only Sanga emerges with any sort of credit. And you guys can't even win in 'flat' tracks of India. Moral of the story: put your house in order first before making uneducated blanket statements just aimed at pulingl others down. Oh! and the pitch is a fair one offering turn and bounce, unlike the 'flat' Premadasa where even batsmen with test avg below 30 like Mahanama scored 225. So there..

Posted by Aditya2588 on (February 24, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

What a master piece by MS. The part where Virat Kohli recalls the words his captain uttered are so surreal and shows how nonchalant he was. The clarity of thought which MS had then and his fearless attitude reminds me of this song "headstrong" by trapt.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 18:50 GMT)

Indian Batters can perform like this only on their flat wickets. Let them show the same colors in fast wickets in Australia, England or South Africa.

Posted by screamingeagle on (February 24, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Lol@andrew27994, If the guy can make 200, he has the brains to know how to play tomorrow as well.

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

It was as if the match is scripted for him.. When he wanted to hit boundaries, he would hit 'em. Always got the single on the last delivery of the over, And whenever he take a step out of the crease to run, there would be a two, sometimes through placement and sometimes through misfields ... Today was his day...

Posted by andrew27994 on (February 24, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

India's strategy would probably be to bat the 1st 5 overs carefully and then start accelerating. I hope Dhoni gives the strike to Bhuvaneshwar tomorrow. Otherwise we would be wasting scoring opportunities. Maybe Dhoni would be fantasising 250 tomorrow and hope he gets it quickly.

Posted by noufu123 on (February 24, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

Great Cricket By MSD.........and good support from SRT and VIrat Kohli.......Chakde India............

Posted by sweet2hrme on (February 24, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Really! It was a great inning by Dhoni. Thnx 2u.. Now plz dnt waiste this inning becoz ur inning will decide India's win or Draw. 30-40 quick runs more.. Plz play aggressively n score as many runs as u can. Come on Dhoni, come on India we want to see India win here

Posted by Arrow011 on (February 24, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

Good Sachin got out at 81, he will again try to score a century, once he does score usually he gets a cheap score that has been happening with Sachin. Sachin come on do it again, make it 101 / 100s.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 24, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

Welll done India, good innings by Sachin and Kohli and great one by Dhoni.

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