India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai

Chennai knock Dhoni's best - Chappell

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 27, 2013

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MS Dhoni launches one for six, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 3rd day, February 24, 2013
MS Dhoni's knock was the difference between India and Australia in Chennai, says Greg Chappell © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Greg Chappell | MS Dhoni | Moises Henriques
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by Demolish 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.

Posted by JustIPL 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.

Posted by 777aditya 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.

Posted by Demolish 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.

Posted by Naresh28 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.

Posted by   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!"

Posted by Thyagu5432 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.

Posted by karthi621keyan 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.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (February 28, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

Why do we need an expert to state the obvious? A double hundred, his highest ever in any form of cricket, his team wins. What else this innings can be but his best? However, one thing which baffles me is his commitment when India is not doing well. In England and in Australia, we were thrashed, we lost the ODI series, T20s, the Asia cup, T20 world cup, ODI against Pak. I think that is a fairly long stretch of loses but nothing shows in Dhoni's face if it really worries him and it is also not obvious, if some corrective measures are taken (our openers still fail, fast bowlers continue to be pathetic, spinners need rank turners to take wickets). So just this one win doesn't change anything, we need a fairly long stretch of wins to really believe we are on the rise and it is not going to happen soon since, if at all, the stretch has just started a test ago.

Posted by viji69 on (February 28, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

"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." - Greg chappel - A True " AUSTRALIAN" & CRICKET EXPERT. THE Point is :IT IS HIGH TIME, WE - BCCI & ALL WHO MATTERS TO RECOGNIZE, REGARD, MANAGE AND PRESERVE SPECIAL TALENTS TO SERVE INDIAN CRICKET.

Posted by Anwaruzz on (February 28, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

Yet to be impressed with India's achievement. It is all there between the lines the Indian fans needs to understand the true IND test scenario. "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". First Test wins are gifted by visiting team to the host in all cricketing countries, as they are yet to adapt to an alien condition. India needs to win this series clearly by atleast two test and a series win against any of top three rankings next for the Indian press to go gaga like now.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

congratulations india one test gone 3 to go anything can happen this is cricket dont forget ! remember australia are fighters .

Posted by Ramanatpng on (February 28, 2013, 1:39 GMT)

The reality of cricket these days is that most batsmen (with the exception of few like (Dravid /Sachin / Kallis / Sangakarra) can consistently prove himself on all conditions. The great Ricky Ponting has an "the less said the better" record in India - but what build up the Australian media and commentators give him? I was watching Australian media coverage of the Chennai test where they still beleive that Australia lost because of the quality of pitches? If you have a green top or a bouncy track - batsmen are expected to have skills to negotiate the pace and bounce and it is hailed as a sporting pitch but if we have spinning tracks - then they are "doctored pitches". Grow up cynics - be man enough to admit the short comings in all teams.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 28, 2013, 0:25 GMT)

Dhoni first came to national attention when John Wright was coach but Wright has always been a man of humility who likes to keep a low profile, one who doesn't seek credit even when credit is due. Greg Chappell is the very opposite, I still recall how in his 1st press conference he implied Wright was weak with the players, how he would change everything. Well, change he did, Chappell's tenure was a nightmare. He'd like to think that Dhoni came thru under his coaching stint, the facts are different. You can't fool all of us, Greg.

Posted by Nampally on (February 27, 2013, 22:25 GMT)

Yes, Dhoni's innings was indeed a Match winning one! What an innings where he mauled Lyon after he got Tendulkar Out. This type of innings is more reminicent of Sehwag. It appears Dhoni has taken over from Sehwag. But Dhoni could not have done it alone. Ashwin with 12 Wkts. for 196 was the hero in bowling, who turned the tables on the Aussies. But carrying the team from 194 for 4 to over 550 is Dhoni's genius.It was a glorious Double century which any batsman would have been proud of. Indian batting rose to the occasion via Pujara, Tendulkar, Kohli & Kumar- each making significant contributions.Even amongst the Indian spinners, while Ashwin was great, he got good support from Jadeja. Ojha was dropped unjustifiably & would have matched Ashwin. Absence of Ojha on a spinners's wkt. made Indian bowling average - letting Aussies get 380. Also Umpiring gift to Clarke helped him add another 90 runs.Hyderabad wkt will be a batting wkt. This may help the Aussies to get their batting form.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 20:47 GMT)

How does Dhoni do it? No other batsmanin the world can clobber bowling like that. Last year in the ODIs he would wait until the very end to pull out a victory. This man must have a majic bat somewhere. His batting is sometimes unbelievable.

Posted by Vicchu on (February 27, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

@phaktaa_tikit: I agree Ashwin's 12 was very crucial in India's victory and is one of the greatest efforts by him and I applaud him for that. But without Dhoni's innings we would have had about 200 to chase in the 4th innings and our team not even thought about winning on the 4th day of this test (considering how defensive mindset our team has). How much odds do you think we would have had to win the match had it not been for Dhoni's knock? The last test match of 2000-01 series only comes to my mind when Bhajji and Dighe pitch in for 10th wicket pair to win the match and eventually, the series for us. Considering all that and given Dhoni is a wicket-keeper + captain, I would definitely vote for Dhoni's innings than Ashwin's on any other day. Come on, only 1 or 2 current wicket keepers have a better average than Dhoni's in tests. Check yourself for the records. So, being the all-in-one guy for India, Dhoni clearly deserves MoM for his double compared to Ashwin's 12 on any day and pitch.

Posted by anupamraj114 on (February 27, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

When Dhoni was critisized for captaincy in last few months, i thought who is other deserving candidate for this pressure cooker job....nd guess what....i had no answer....there is no better person other than than dhoni ryt now to lead d team....virat is d next man but at dis stage he is not ready....needs to play atleast 15 more tests....other candidates were gambhir nd sehwag whose place in the team is under serious ques....chappel has rightly said india is truly lucky to have him....u can question his technique but not his dedication....he is perhaps the fastest runner betn d wickets in d world nd the fittest player in the team....just think about doing up and down for 90 overs in a day that to in chennai heat nd being the captain its not easy at all....respect!!!!

Posted by lokphy on (February 27, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Ashwin has better technique than Dhoni to play at abroad.. he is good in Inida and asian picthes only... Also he needs to quit captaincy as he does not select best 11. He should have given chances to current best younger players.. M. Vijay failed in both innings ... should give dhawan a chance.... we may find better spinner than bhajji... these are the things captain should think...

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

Stop with the bashing.. You need to give credit to someone when he does well and not talk about his expected failure in a different situation.. Thats exactly what Chappell is doing... His comments about Dhoni managing the workload for last 5 years in all form of the game is also a very good insight. Nowadays there are so many forms of game and so many different conditions that you can always find something that someone has not been good at.. It could be pace/spin/home/away/aggression/4th innings/green track/chasing a target/facing quality opposition/captaincy/test/ODI/T20/consistency/playing under pressure or something else.. Everyone will have missed something or the other in their CV. I think Dhoni ticks most of the boxes that one can think of. For that he needs to be given credit !! If he does perform and win in SA or AUS; he would probably have done more for his team than any one cricketer ever has in history of the game.

Posted by Divinetouch on (February 27, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

The greatest disappointment to me is that it seems my fellow bloggers either do not read properly or they do not understand what they read.

According to Greg Chappell it is Dhoni's best innings in test cricket. Either you agree or disagree. If you disagree say which innings of Dhoni is better.

Amongst the players in the current Indian team Dhoni is best suited to captain.

Posted by slasaus on (February 27, 2013, 16:00 GMT)

@adithhya he will fail coz he doesnt have the technique to play the saffers in these conditions. I thought it was a strange remark by one of the commentators who was surprised by his overseas ave coz he is one of the best indian players of the short ball. Well i got news for him, good line and length in swinging conditions and Dhoni most def will not look like "the wall".

Posted by A.Ak on (February 27, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

It doesn't matter what everyone does in away games, but they should play well in home series. This is what makes them a good player. If they play well in away games, then they are great .

Posted by sashi94 on (February 27, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Its amazing to see some comments here where people discredit the Indian batsmen by saying they are 'flat track bullies' and etc. Well then why dont your players score runs on these flat tracks? Australian batsmen had the benefit of playing on a first day track.. if anything Cowan, Warner and P hughes were the only players with a major advantage in this game! The pitch was untouched when they were batting..

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

Ask him to play it in same fashion in South Africa?

Posted by slasaus on (February 27, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

Thoroughly enjoyed this testmatch. Indeed a special knock by the indian captain, a true game changer. Lyon must have had a few nightmares so im wondering whether he will be able to recover from this onslaught for the remaining of the series. Apparantly Dhoni is one of the fittest around but he looked absolutely knackered at the end of day 3. Also thought Kohli played a mature innings, a treat to the eyes, esp a few of his shots with excellent timing through the mid wicket area.

Posted by Pathiyal on (February 27, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

indeed it was a great knock from MS and he is known for such heroics in ODIs so far and here we can say he bailed out the team from the short coming which were plentiful. we noticed 2 things: firstly this aussie team is still young getting experienced in these conditions (its just a matter of one test and they wont be the same in the remaining tests - too early to judge them) and secondly the contributions from indian seamers here is a big worry compared to pattinson, siddle who were able to extract something from the pitch. when indian seamers bowled, they seemed to be playing in another continent :-) fun to watch em'

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (February 27, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

Posted by phaktaa_tikit on (February 27, 2013, 11:37 GMT) - I don't understand what's the issue here.Greg said ,this is dhoni's best knock .No one is talking about ABD or SA series here and regarding Michael Clarke,everyone knows how good a batsmen Clarke is and he is one of the best at the moment along with Amla and Cook.It was dhoni's quick 200 changed the game and gave india extended lead in quick time to bowl australia out.When india was 196/4, game was in balance and if Australia took a lead and ask india to bat in final day pitch,india destined to lose the match with this spiteful track.Infact Michael Clarke itself feels that dhoni knock changed the game.You need to give credit to dhoni for batting this way against pattinson who looked dangerous on that day.So give credit where its due .Its amazing when other country fans appreciate dhoni's knock,Indians degrade their own.Its a special knock in terms of pitch condition and the time he took to score those runs .Sigh

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 27, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

@ meety__ what if india had won the toss , match wud not have entered day 4.

Posted by wake_up_india on (February 27, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

Once again, confusing personal skill with on-game strategy making.

Posted by phaktaa_tikit on (February 27, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

My MoM for this match was Ashwin but somehow Batsmen overshadow bowlers when it comes to recognition. 12 wickets in a Test match Really great, no matter what type of pitch it is !

Posted by phaktaa_tikit on (February 27, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

@Anoop: very True. classical example of Indians' short memory.

Posted by BHASKARBHARATWAJ on (February 27, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

this 200+ is not goin to help dhoni because he need to win this series 4-0 to prove because he got white washed in australia you can complain that that pitch is different for ind now aus are here the pitch is different to them so lets ses if they get white washed or not

Posted by phaktaa_tikit on (February 27, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

I guess people are building too much hype around this knock. I find it funny to call it was a knock 'under pressure' because he came in when India were 4/196.. When a No.6 batsman comes to bat obsviously 4 wickets would have gone down.. So called cricket experts see only Indian players' knocks. Wasn't ABD's knock last week great? Wasn't Clarke's inning great? To me Aussies were destined to loose irrespective of India conceding 1st inning lead. And we must not forget all indian batsmen are bosses on Indian tracks and DHoni's not extra special except that it was entertaining. And again, they it was great cos of turning track. How can it be when there was not single good spinner in Aus. On that count, I consider Clarke's knock superior because he showed how to play three very good spinners under the conditions

Posted by Anoop Srinivas on (February 27, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

All the experts were asking Dhoni to step down after all these series losses in the past 18 months, and rightly so. Suddenly, after one good match against a jaded Australia, people see him as the perfect leader. Double standards!

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

Hopefully with the kind of start they had Indian team should do well in the series. They shouldn't get carried away, coz it was close to what happened in the England V India series as well. Was really good to see some fine power hitting with caution.

Posted by pull_shot on (February 27, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

@Mitty2 wow amazing predictions ok then please consider if india had won the toss and batted first

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 27, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

One can only wonder what would have happened if Cowan took the catch when India were 400 odd for 8. But then again, there were many ifs in the tests earlier on (clarke's non paid decision, the LBW appeal against tendulkar when he wasn't playing a shot), but regardless to all, India still deserved to win and Australia with their selection deserved to lose

How after the precedent and set by eng in the eng-India series that we wouldn't go with two spinners is beyond me. Irrespective to the class differential between swann and panesar, Lyon was never goin to succeed in his first tour to India without support from an other spinner. He bowled very well in some spells and if wade hadn't been such an inept keeper he would've got pujara twice in the second innings, and he created many chances in the first innings, he will bounce back, but not without a spinner to support him. Dhoni would've done that to any spinner

Doherty has the ability to contain, and Lyon attack, they have to be selected

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