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Double ton behind the stumps for Dhoni

india Updated: Nov 07, 2011 02:06 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Mahendra Singh Dhoni


The catch that Mahendra Singh Dhoni took late on Sunday to send back Marlon Samuels off the bowling of R Ashwin made him the first Indian wicketkeeper to notch up 200 Test dismissals, leaving Syed Kirmani (198) behind. Dhoni has played 62 Tests compared to Kirmani's 88.

The catch followed a smart stumping. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha had West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite lunging forward and got the ball to turn past his outside edge. Brathwaite dragged his back foot out of the crease for a moment, enough for Dhoni to collect and whip the bails off.

A stubborn partnership was broken and a new man was at the crease.

Making it to the all-time list
Dhoni's 174 catches and 26 stumpings make him 13th on the all-time list, topped by South Africa's Mark Boucher with 521 dismissals.

He has the additional responsibility of captaining India in all formats as well as leading the Chennai Super Kings. He's an overworked man, but remains alert as captain and wicketkeeper.

He lost the toss against Darren Sammy on Sunday, thus allowing West Indies to bat first on a wicket that is expected to offer more turn later.

There wasn't much else he did wrong though, apart from fumbling a few deliveries from the pacers that died as they reached him.

Dhoni showed he was on the button from the start when he took off Umesh Yadav after the debutant fast bowler wasted the new ball. He turned to Ojha, thus protecting the other debutant, R Ashwin, from early pressure.

Lost Dhoni magic was back at Kotla
Ojha nearly got a wicket in his first over and did so in his second. The Dhoni magic, which appeared to have waned during the disastrous Test series in England, was back.

At the other end, Ishant Sharma was kept on longer, with three slips and a gully, because he was bowling better. Dhoni crowded the batsmen with close-in fielders for Ojha and for Ashwin, when he was introduced later.

Rahul Dravid was a constant presence at first slip, as was Gautam Gambhir at short-leg. VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag kept them company, flitting in and out of silly point, second slip, forward short-leg, or leg-slip.

Ojha and Ashwin repaid the faith by getting Dhoni two more wickets. Then came the fightback through Brathwaite and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

In the afternoon session, Dhoni's captaincy and the Indian attack both looked flat.

It took a moment of brilliance from Dhoni the wicketkeeper to send back Brathwaite and turn things around.