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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dhoni knocks wind out of Australia's sails: T1 D3

India 8/515 (141 ov, Dhoni 206*, Kohli 107, Tendulkar 81, Pattinson 4/89) lead Australia 380 by 135 runs with 2 1st inns wkts in hand: T1/4 D3/5 at Chennai.

Had it followed India ( the nation as the team and the BCCI)'s preferred script/ wish list today would have been Sachin Tendulkar's. Yet when the little master edged a sharply turning Nathan Lyon off break onto his leg stump for an elegantly circumspect 81/159b (7x4) India were 4/196 and left with a mountain (rather than a hill) to climb to overtake Australia's 380.

But that scenario hasn't played out. Virat Kohli continued to play solidly and when he fell at 324 for 107/206b (1x6, 15x4) India were competitive.

But MS Dhoni, playing the innings of his life, 206*/243b (5x6, 22x4) has given India a 135 run lead which, given that the pitch is turning, if their spinners bowl even half decently when Australia bat again, should be enough to set up a win.

I'd thought that Dhoni was a good short form cricketer but a lightweight Test one. Today he's proved me wrong so I swallow my words and thoughts and say well done MS!

As for Australia, it was a feeble performance with the ball and in the field. After Nathan Lyon bowled Tendulkar with a full length,well flighted off break he wilted too often under Dhoni's calculated risky and sweep/ pull rich onslaught, opting for quicker (and shorter) balls aka darts. He should have done better than 40-1-182-3.

A black day for Australia, but well played Dhoni( and Kohli, Tendulkar and the tailenders who supported him) The match could end tomorrow, or linger into D5. Either way India should win.

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