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Dhoni pounds Australia

S. Dinakar
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Dhoni’s unbeaten 206 is the highest score by an Indian captain against Australia

Right on top:Indian Skipper M.S. Dhoni lofts for a six runs against Australia in the first Test in Chennai on Sunday.— Photo: V. Ganesan
Right on top:Indian Skipper M.S. Dhoni lofts for a six runs against Australia in the first Test in Chennai on Sunday.— Photo: V. Ganesan

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s unbeaten 206 was high on octane and low on sympathy for the bowlers. Dismantling the Australian attack with strokes of thunder, the Indian captain made history at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.

Fuelled by Dhoni’s undefeated innings — the highest score by an Indian captain against Australia in Tests — India ended the third day of the first Airtel Test at 515 for eight. On a surface with spots that is offering purchase for the spinners, the host leads by 135 in the first innings.

The thirty-one-year-old Dhoni showed aggression, intent and character in the cauldron. Along the way, he became the first Indian wicket-keeper batsman to reach the 4,000-run mark in Tests.

The day also witnessed a fighting 107 by Virat Kohli. The Delhi right-hander’s fourth Test century was a quality effort by a young batsman with a sound temperament and a healthy range of strokes.

Dhoni and Kohli added a valuable 128 runs for the fifth wicket. Then, Dhoni blazed away in a crucial unbeaten 109-run ninth-wicket partnership with debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar (16).

In a blitzkrieg that might have shut out Australia from the game, Dhoni plundered 109 runs in the extended session after tea. The Aussie pace attack, including the impressive James Pattinson, took a pounding, as the Indian captain, who has faced 243 deliveries so far and struck 22 boundaries and five sixes, punched, cut, drove and whipped.

And Dhoni’s sixth three-figure knock in Tests — also his first double hundred — included some massive hits over mid-wicket off Nathan Lyon. Indeed, the Aussie bowlers were clueless when the wristy batsman unleashed weighty blows.

Off-spinner Lyon left an expectant crowd disappointed when he casted Sachin Tendulkar (81) in the morning. Then, Lyon and the rest of the Aussie attack ran into heavy weather against a marauding Dhoni.

Dhoni’s unbeaten 206 is the highest score by an Indian captain against Australia. His partnership with Virat Kohli (107) yielded 128 crucial runs.

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