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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cricket India Vs Australia: Dhoni Double Puts Chennai Test India’s Way!


Morning did not quite show the day on the third day of the first Test between India and Australia in Chennai today. India not only had to overhaul the Australian total of 380, but also had to take a substantial lead for any chance of turning the match in their favor. The crowds wanted Sachin Tendulkar to do it for India notching up his 52nd Test hundred in the process. But the Australian bowlers maintaining a tight leash right from the morning checked India effectively and the early exit of Tendulkar who added just 10 runs to his overnight score of 71 put paid to fans hope and also for hope of a dramatic turnaround the Indian way. However, Virat Kohli went on patiently, and suddenly he found a very determined partner in the form of his captain MS Dhoni who egged him on to become more aggressive

Morning still did not show the day though. Kohli and Dhoni launched an assault on the Australian bowling attack and built a partnership of 128 runs with Kohli completing a brilliant century. When Kohli fell again to Lyon who made it a point to use the rough created on the pitch well for 107 at the team score of 324/5 things were uncertain again. Dhoni was as determined and ruthless as he showed from the beginning of his innings, but the fall of two early wickets of Jadeja and Ashwin—both capable of playing long innings—at 372/7 the old spectre of Team India not able to take substantial lead came up to haunt the crowds again. Meantime Dhoni completed a magnificent hundred. Harbhajan Singh who hit two successive hundreds against New Zealand in 2010 could not last long too and it seemed all over for India at 406/8 with only a slender lead of 26 runs.

What followed made the day that the morning could not indicate. In a most spectacular and chanceless batting display skipper Dhoni went berserk hitting all around the park with great ferocity as well as accuracy. In a befitting support for his captain newcomer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar started showing his batting prowess mixing aggression with caution. In about 25 overs till the end of play the duo with Dhoni firing all cylinders added 109 runs and Dhoni achieved his first double century in just 231 balls with 22 fours and 5 sixes. The duo had already achieved the biggest ninth wicket partnership record against Australia and both remained unbeaten at stumps on the third day—Dhoni on 206 and Kumar on 16 with the total score reading 515/8. The lead so far of 135 runs could very well be match defining.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke looked humbled, Pattinson looked to lose his sting and all bowlers looked clueless on a pitch that did nothing for the pacers except for some hint of a reverse swing and some rough patches for use for the line spinner Lyon who got three wickets. The last frontier fears of lifeless pitches and powerful Indian batting seemed to have overpowered the mighty Aussies at the moment. How much more Dhoni adds to the lead and how the Aussies bat in the second outing are the most pertinent questions now. The Scorecard:

The last two days of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy first Test in Chennai are set to be very exciting ones with Indian hopes rekindled. 

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