148 v Pakistan, Visakhapatman, 2004-05
Dhoni is playing his fifth ODI
and walks in at No. 3 after Sachin Tendulkar has fallen in the fourth over. The pitch is flat, and Dhoni cashes in in a spectacular manner. He scores his maiden ODI century, 148 off 123 balls with 15 fours and four sixes, and by the time he's done Virender Sehwag's 74 off 40 balls has been overshadowed. It is the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper - barring Rahul Dravid - and by the time Dhoni is out, India are 289 for 4 in the 42nd over.
183 v Sri Lanka, Jaipur, 2005-06
Sri Lanka set India a formidable 299
to win, and India lose Tendulkar in the first over. But Dhoni, promoted to No. 3, plunders 183 off 145 balls, and takes India to victory with 23 balls to spare. His innings includes 15 fours and 10 sixes, and it is the highest score by a wicketkeeper, the highest individual score batting second, and it has the highest number of runs scored in boundaries at the time.
148 v Pakistan, Faisalabad 2005-06
After Pakistan have scored 588
in the first innings, India are in danger of conceding a massive first-innings lead after losing their top five for 281. Dhoni disregards the match situation, matched fire with fire, and what follows is a breathless knock that kills any chances of a result in the Test. A fired-up Shoaib Akhtar steams in and peppers Dhoni with a barrage of short balls, but Dhoni responds with a thrilling counterattack, hooking and pulling with aggression that almost approaches recklessness. He hits four sixes and 19 fours in his innings for 148, which take him only 153 balls. By the time he is out, India trail by only 97 runs.
76 v England at Lord's, 2007
This is perhaps Dhoni's most valuable innings, for it helps India avoid impending defeat
and provides the turnaround for a historic series victory in England. He has played an atrocious shot to get out for a duck in the first innings, and is the last of India's recognised batsmen, when at 145 for 5 India need to bat for more than two sessions to save the Test. He adds 86 for the sixth wicket with VVS Laxman who gets out with India on 231 for 6. Dhoni rides his luck, survives several edges and bats for 159 balls for his 76. He keeps losing partners, but manages to hang on with Sreesanth, the No 11, until the rain, which has threatened to arrive all day, finally does and ends the Test.