'Dhoni-Bhajji partnership was turning point' | cricket | Hindustan Times
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'Dhoni-Bhajji partnership was turning point'

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2008 20:39 IST

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Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag got most of the accolades for India's first Test victory in Chennai but for former England coach Duncan Fletcher, the seventh-wicket partnership between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh in the home team's first innings was the turning point in the memorable win.

"There's no doubt that the decision to play the first Test at Chennai was vindicated. That was a superb game, rounded off by a fantastic knock from Sachin Tendulkar. There was something for everyone -- except, for England, the right result," said Fletcher, who is now consultant of the South African cricket team.

"Clearly India batted out of their skins in the final innings but I believe an area of the game that has been overlooked was the seventh-wicket partnership between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh on the second day, when they added 75 just as India were threatening to collapse.

"That meant the first-innings deficit was manageable rather than impossible and underlines how much you need guys who can bat at number eight. It was a critical period," he wrote in his column for 'The Mirror'.

Commenting on Rahul Dravid's lean patch, Fletcher said with Tendulkar in prime form there has been a role reversal in the home team's performance when the English came touring India in 2002.

"Mind you, Tendulkar played so well and he probably would have scored a hundred against any attack. I remember thinking during India's tour of England in 2002 that we had the better of him early on and that it was Rahul Dravid who was the major problem. Now the roles have been reversed.