Dhoni devastates Aussie bowling, swings game

CHENNAI, Feb 24:
Captain M S Dhoni’s brilliant knock demolished the Aussie bowlers, and swung the game strongly in India’s favours with the score being at 515 for 8 in 141 overs Dhoni shared an unbroken stand of 109 runs in 25.4 overs with Bhuvaneswar Kumar (16 batting) after a sparkling century by Virat Kohli (107) at stumps on the third day of the first test at the M A Chidambaram Stadium here today.
Dhoni was batting on 206 off 243 balls with the help of 15 fours and five sixes.
As the Aussie bowlers struggled, explosive pacer James Pattinson(4-89), who began on an explosive note reducing India to 12-2 when India began their reply yesterday and off spinner Nathan Lyon (3-182) turned out to be the most successive bowlers for them.
The skipper who also passed the 4,000 run mark in Tests, the first Indian wicketkeeper batsman to do so, also put on 128 for the fifth wicket with Virat Kohli in 26.1 overs and carried on merrily after Kohli and R Ashwin’s fall. With Harbhajan Singh and Bhuvaneswar Kumar keeping the hapless Aussies under the energy sapping heat, the Chennai Super Kings skipper surpassed his previous highest Test score of 148 against Pakistan in 2006.
India went in for lunch at 263-4 after Sachin fell for 81 to Aussie off spinner Nathan Lyon and for tea at 371 for 6, nine runs behind the visitors’ score.
Dhoni was in his elements in the post tea session in which he took India past the Aussies’s score batting brilliantly uleashing cover drives and pulls on what appeared to be a placid pitch. He first struck an eighth wicket stand with Harbhajan Singh of 41 runs in 13.4 overs and then with tailender Bhuvaneswar Kumar for the ninth. He belted two sixes in tandem in the 132nd over and raced to 160 and double century well within reach.
Post tea, the Aussies had immediate success. Their second most successful bowler, off spinner till then after pacer James Pattinson (four wickets) Nathan Lyon picked up his third when he castled India’s off spinner R Ashwin, the hero for India when the visitors batted first. Ashwin got three runs off the six balls he faced.
But there was joy in the Indian camp as skipper Dhoni registered his sixth century in Test match cricket as Siddle was brought on in place of Pattinson.
Dhoni sent the first ball of Siddle’s 19th over to the fence to reach 101 off 119 balls with the help of 13 fours and a six. He could still rely on his new partner, off spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was playing in his 100th Test match for India, to give the team a good lead. Bhajji has two hundreds in Tests.
India overtook Austrlalia’s score of 380 in the 109th over. Dhoni was also eight runs short of achieving 4000 runs in Tests, a feat which no other Indian stumper had accomplished.
Dhoni also posted the 400 run mark for India in the fifth ball of the 112th over, in 505 minutes. But the Indian innings was at the threshold of ending when after a fruitful 34 run stand for the eighth wicket, Harbhajan, who hit a six in his score of 11, was castled by medium pscer Henriques, who picked up his first wicket in his Test match debut.
With Bhuvanewar Kumar holding on his guard, Dhoni pushed the score along to 438 for 8 in 120 overs of the innings. He posted his 150 with a superb cover drive of Peter Siddle.
The stand Dhoni posted with Bhuvneswar Kumar swelled to 42, with the latter scoring just two runs. The team’s 450 came in 128 overs then. He also posted the 500 score in 608 minutes.(PTI)


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