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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

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Dhoni’s run out was baffling
Ian Botham, Hindustan Times
December 16, 2012
First Published: 00:27 IST(16/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:30 IST(16/12/2012)
Skipper MS Dhoni celebrates his half century as Pragyan Ojha looks on during Day 2 of the third Test match against England at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. PTI Photo

It took England more than 500 deliveries to get a wicket and the credit for that must go to Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Virat has had a phenomenal year in one-day cricket and is a naturally aggressive batsman. What impressed me was the way he applied himself for the team's sake and curbed his style accordingly.

In the last couple of innings, we saw him play a few loose shots and get out, so this one was a standout. Dhoni too hasn't been in great form with the bat. He is a dangerous one-day batsman but this innings will make him proud. As captain you need to take more responsibility, especially when your team isn't doing well and Dhoni just did that. He came in at No 6 and played a fine innings. It was a disciplined effort by both the batsmen and it brought India back in the game.

What baffled me was the run out. Was there a need for that run? Test hundreds do matter a lot and Dhoni missed out on one and, more importantly, it would have been great for India had he carried on. The English bowlers denied him easy runs and he was kept in the 90s for long, so the pressure was building up and maybe that led to the attempt, but that was needless.

That sort of a partnership can have a demoralising effect on the opponents. England looked sloppy on the field and their fitness was tested. They needed to raise the bar and post tea, they just did that, and got rewarded. Graeme Swann picked up a couple of important wickets, Monty Panesar kept it really tight and it shows in his economy rate of 1.45 and James Anderson just keeps going and going.

The difference between both the teams has been fitness, which I believe played a major role for England in winning the Kolkata Test. The Dhoni run out was a prime example. Nearing the end of a day's play, fielders tend to slow down but Alastair Cook was alert and quick, and that ensured the run out.

England still are in a better position. They lead by 33 runs and need two wickets. With 2-1 up, they should look to bat India out of this Test. They have already ensured that India will have to bat last and will now look to bat the whole of fourth day and some part of the fifth day as well.

There seem to be no demons in the wicket and it looks good for them. England are in a position from where they can lose this Test only themselves.

PMG The writer is a former England captain


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