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All star of the match

Under pressure, Dhoni scores unbeaten century

MS Dhoni and Junaid Khan were the top performers in the first ODI between India and Pakistan in Chennai

ESPNcricinfo staff
MS Dhoni dug India out of trouble by scoring an unbeaten century at Chennai  •  BCCI

MS Dhoni dug India out of trouble by scoring an unbeaten century at Chennai  •  BCCI

MS Dhoni's unbeaten 113 was a lesson for India's other batsmen on how to play the swinging ball, as he rescued his side from 29 for 5 to post 227 in 50 overs.
Dhoni's eighth ODI century helped dig the team out of trouble after the Pakistan fast bowlers - Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan - had left India's batsmen gaping with the movement and bounce they generated off the surface. Junaid picked up 4 for 43 while Irfan picked up the key wicket of Gautam Gambhir.
Dhoni started cautiously by nudging and poking his way to 50 off 86 balls, hitting just two boundaries. He smashed a free hit off Junaid over wide long-on for the first six of the innings and launched Saeed Ajmal out of the ground over long-on. He brought up his century with a six over extra cover.
His stand of 125 with Ashwin was India's highest for the seventh wicket. His innings featured an array of shots on both sides of the wicket including the helicopter shot.
"It was a bad toss to lose, but I am happy with my batting. There was something for the fast bowlers, but they also pitched it in the right areas. Once we lost five wickets, it was difficult to come back," Dhoni said.
"We delayed the slog to get to a respectable score - 227 was a good score from where we were, but not enough in the end. The wicket got better later and our part-timers struggled."
Junaid Khan - 4 for 43
Pakistan fast bowler Junaid Khan's opening-spell broke the back of India's top order as he hit the stumps dismissing Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and then found the edge of Rohit Sharma's bat.
He had played 13 matches and claimed 21 wickets before this match but he exploited the damp conditions perfectly by holding a tight line and attacking the stumps.
The Junaid-Irfan combine had India reeling at 29 for 5 at one stage. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said that this wasn't the first time Junaid had put on a match-winning show.
"It was really good toss to win and the spell by Junaid Khan was very good. He has done it before in a Test match in Sri Lanka. Good to see that the bowlers pitched in the right areas in helping conditions. There was a change in the nature of the pitch. It was more difficult to play in the first half, very well played by Dhoni," Misbah said.