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Mahendra Singh Dhoni enters Sachin Tendulkar’s exclusive club with 10th ODI ton

Mahendra Singh Dhoni rediscovered his old touch, stroking a brilliant 10th One-day International century in the second game against England in Cuttack on Thursday. He became the second man after Sachin Tendulkar to score 4,000-plus ODI runs in India

cricket Updated: Jan 19, 2017 19:14 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
mahendra singh dhoni,yuvraj singh,Cuttack ODI
Mahendra Singh Dhoni on way to his 10th One-day International century, in the second India vs England ODI in Cuttack on Thursday. (REUTERS)

Mahendra Singh Dhoni scored his 10th ODI hundred in the second one-dayer against England at the Barabati Stadium on Thursday. A visibly subdued knock, he got to three figures off 106 balls, hitting nine fours and three sixes. (India vs England 2nd ODI live)

Dhoni completed 4,000 ODI runs at home in the course of his innings. He became the second Indian after Sachin Tendulkar to score over 4,000 ODI runs at home.

The last time he got a century was in October 2013 against Australia in Mohali when he was unbeaten on 139. In between there was an unbeaten 92 against South Africa in Indore and an 85 not out during the 2015 World Cup against Zimbabwe in Auckland. It was Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s first century against England.

Everyone felt it was high time Mahendra Singh Dhoni stamped his class once again with a big score. Even the former India skipper must have felt that way. And it came. The Indian top order going back early set it up and two heroes of India cricket, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, who many think are past their prime, infused life to their careers.

The delivery after Dhoni reached three figures, Yuvraj was dismissed on 150 off 127 balls with 21 fours and three sixes. It was Yuvraj’s highest score in ODIs.

The signs of the flourish coming were there to read.

The India team bus had just pulled up alongside the dressing room portico at the Barabati Stadium on Wednesday. India had an optional practice session ahead of their second ODI against England.

Ajinkya Rahane stepped out followed by KL Rahul. No surprises there. Both these youngsters are known to take their training sessions really seriously, something like those studious kinds in the school days. But then, surprise, surprise! Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped out of the bus.

Dhoni was never known to really slog it out in training sessions. After the customary football session, he would spend some time batting. Then if he was in the mood he would join the bowlers and roll his arm over. The former India skipper was the flag-bearer of ‘optional’ training sessions, justifying them by saying time spent off cricket was really good for the players now that India have such cramped schedules.

So, seeing Mahendra Singh Dhoni turn up for an optional practice session sent out a strong message. Now that he no longer has the added responsibility of leading the team, he wanted to focus on his batting and win back his tag as a finisher. He had missed out in Pune after looking is fine nick and on Thursday too he got a leading edge that seemed to hang in the air forever. But Jake Ball running back from mid-on failed to get his hands to it. Dhoni was on 45 then. He brought up his 50 soon after, off 68 balls.

During the innings, Dhoni had to call the physio in twice to treat what appeared to be a side strain. With more liquids in, he seemed fine. He could afford to take his time. Yuvraj Singh at the other end was in murderous form finding the ropes with ease.

First Published: Jan 19, 2017 17:09 IST