India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai February 27, 2013

Chennai knock Dhoni's best - Chappell

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former Australia captain Greg Chappell has rated MS Dhoni's double-century in Chennai as his best in Tests. Dhoni's knock of 224 tilted the scales in India's favour, according to Chappell, and helped them to a 1-0 lead in the four-match series against Australia.

"He has played several memorable knocks in one-day cricket, but this was the best I have seen him play in Test matches," Chappell told The Times of India.

"I have seen him smack a yorker-length delivery from James Anderson for a six. It requires special talent. His success on a crumbling Chennai track stems from his ability to strike the ball hard on pitches where the ball tends to keep low. Had he scored just 124, the match would still have been in the balance. The manner in which he attacked a tiring Australian attack, shielding the tailenders, truly makes him a match-winner."

This was India's seventh win in the last 21 Tests, five of which have come against West Indies and New Zealand. India lost eight consecutive overseas Tests, and conceded a series at home to England for the first time in 28 years. Chappell accepted that the Indian team looked average on their tour of Australia last summer but maintained that Dhoni's captaincy shouldn't be under doubt.

"It is true that the Indian team under Dhoni looked below par during their tour Down Under, but he has answered his critics in the best possible way. In my book he remains the best man to lead India in all forms of the game.

"At a time when players all over the world are struggling to cope with their workload, it is amazing how Dhoni manages to play every game with the same intensity. That he has done it successfully now for five years speaks volumes about Dhoni's fitness, mental strength as well as his commitment. India are lucky to have him."

Although Australia crumbled under Dhoni's onslaught to eventually lose by eight wickets, a few of their players had impressed. One of them was the debutant Moises Henriques, who scored half-centuries in both innings, finishing with an unbeaten 81 in the second dig to help prevent an innings defeat. In Henriques, Chappell saw the makings of a long-term allrounder.

"It was good to see Henriques coming good at last. He has been on the fringe for a while. I hope he can be the allrounder that Australia have been looking for, particularly after a question mark over Shane Watson's ability to contribute with the ball."

Regardless of the result of the first Test, Chappell felt the series wouldn't be one-sided.

"It will be a close series, but thanks to Dhoni, India do have a significant advantage."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on March 2, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    It is amazing that Dhoni continues to play at the top level in all 3 formats of the game. My guess is when his body eventually breaks down, it will be for a very long time.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2013, 23:36 GMT

    @Demolish - just like you feel Ashwin should've been adjudged MOM, there are so many people like me, 777aditya and the commentators who feel Dhoni was the man. And as rightly put by 777aditya, no one is dismissing the fact that Ashwin played a key role, may be it was more important than Dhoni. But actually there is no way to measure, so why don't you just accept and be cool with it rather than arguing on this petty matter. Petty because everyone knows how important everyone's contribution was. Even Sachin's and Jadeja's contribution too. And, only one person can be MOM (mostly) Finally, cricket fans do care about every department of cricket, be it fielding. If it was that simple to find out why we never produced quality bowlers, we would have found a solution

  • Manan on March 1, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    @777aditya - no doubt Dhoni played a match winning knock but still Ashwin's contribution is no less than Dhoni's and he still should've been considered for MOM . If it wasn't for him Dhoni as well as the other batsmen would've been under a lot of pressure. He set up the stage nicely in the first innings with a 7 for and then completed the job with a five for in the second. Even if it was a rank turner the same can be said about Indian batsmen that they are familiar with the pitches here.

  • Tahir on February 28, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    @Nampally: I think no genious was required once aussie quicks went through their early period and Lyon was not adequately roaring. No doubt aussies took this selection decision knowingly and india benifited from that. Just the fact that aussie attack was toothless. Again hats off to the curators who laid a track where fastmen would struggle as Indian fastmen seemed totally redundant while aussie pacemen left their mark with James fifer off course. Pressure is on Dhoni to extend his rescuer role to coming tests as even in the second innings with no pressure on they lost two wickets cheaply. But Dhoni grabbed this easy chance.

  • Aditya on February 28, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    @ Demolish - No one is belittling Ashwin's contribution (thankfully with the ball this time), but let's face it, Dhoni played a match winning knock. Again, the expectancy factor comes into play - on a rank turner, Ashwin leading the pack (Bhajji looking over the hill and Jadeja still confused about his role in the team) was expected to do well. Whereas, no one expected a "double" hundred from Dhoni (even Dhoni himself, as he said in the post match presentation). Had Dhoni scored a century and India would have won, no doubt Ashwin would have been the MOM.

  • Manan on February 28, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    This article tells us exactly how biased Indian cricket is towards batsman. Does it ever occur to anybody how big a hand Ashwin had in this victory? He took 7 wickets in the first innings itself and succeeded that with a five for. Agreed it was a pitch for spinners but did any of the other bowlers come even close to troubling the batsman as much as ashwin did? There is no mention of ashwin in this article let alone there be a seperate one dedicated to him. This is precisely the reason India doesn''t produce quality bowlers. Because no one appreciated bowling in India.

  • Naresh on February 28, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Truly a team performance leading to a win. The captain was at the forefront.We the fans will always love to see such a gutsy performance - win or lose. Lets hope we can emulate this sort of display overseas. For a change we can now ridicule all those comments that came through saying India was worse than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe when we were at the receiving end in the some of the series away from home.

  • Dummy4 on February 28, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    "I personally feel that lot of things has been said for Dhoni but I don't have any hesitation to say that as far as test matches are concerned he is an average batsman.lf you have any doubt then just chk out all his centuries and you will find that none of them has been made outside Indian Subcontinent.I heard lot in his fabour by the media channels that make me laugh. His love for this format has been exposed when In england he himself came to bowl..I am certainly not a Dhonj basher but it looks too humorous to see a great of the game like Dravid is taking so mutch of pain in an average test player like Dhoni!"

  • Thyagarajan on February 28, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Mr.Karthikeyan! What is amazing about Dhoni is that he is able to take failures in his stride and move on with life. I doubt if anybody else in his place would have carried on like that. Having said that, you cannot wish away all his failures to a team which lacks players like Steyn or Muralidharan etc. Not long ago we were #1 test team. When we lost that status, we had our legends viz., Dravid and VVS, we had the best pace bowler India ever produced after Kapil viz., Zaheer Khan, Sachin was still considered the best batsman in the world, Sehwag was considered as the most devastating batsman in the world, Ghambir was around. While Dhoni was able to win ODIs now and then, his test record was much to be desired especially outside India.

    The fact that losses doesn't worry Dhoni too much is both good and bad. Good because that shows he is mentally strong. Bad because he might not mind losing more. Anyway, I hope this series marks the beginning of the turn around for India and Dhoni.

  • karthi on February 28, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    mr thyagu pls remember that india lost the asia cup becoz of sachin he can score 200 in 147 balls and also score 100 in 139 balls.who else do u think is fit enough to lead india. Does india have a "FAST BOWLER" TO bowl in foreign countries? you can score many runs u want, but u need fast bowlers to take wickets. so just stop criticising DHONI as if he has a dale steyn and muralidharan in his squad. IF not this man india would have been way behind in world cricket.

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