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High on MSD, India take fight to Aussies

india Updated: Feb 25, 2013 01:41 IST
Sanjjeev Samyal
Sanjjeev Samyal

When MS Dhoni raised his bat on getting to his double ton, the loud cheer and his all-out assault silenced the debate that has been raging over his effectiveness as Test captain and player.

Dhoni tore apart the Australian attack as he scored a blistering 206* off 243 balls, leaving rival captain Michael Clarke looking hapless on Day 3 of the first Test being played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

The Ranchi man's greatest Test act provided India the platform to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. His scorecard read more like a one-day sheet: 206 off 243 balls, 22 fours and five sixes.

His maiden double Test ton took Dhoni's run count as captain to 2,667 in 44 Tests which is more than what Sourav Ganguly (2,561 runs in 49 Tests) made when leading India. Being a 'keeper-batsman, the achievement is all the more remarkable.

The spectacular knock comes during the most turbulent time of his career, with chorus for his sacking growing by the day.

If the pressure was telling, there was no sign of it. When he came out to bat, India were 196 for 4 - trailing Australia by 184 runs. At stumps, India were 515 for eight - 135 runs ahead with Dhoni still on the crease.

His hurricane knock whipped many records to submission but there were no grand celebrations. It was team play all the way. A single that would have taken him to 150 was refused as the captain chose to shield tailender Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Virat Kohli, who had the best seat in the stadium for the Dhoni show, went about his job as well - getting his fourth Test hundred (107). Sachin Tendulkar missed his ton but fans had their batting fill.