SPORT

He played the innings of his life

Sports Reporter

Jaipur: Mahendra Singh Dhoni played the innings of his life, scattering the Sri Lankan fielders and sometimes making them irrelevant. His unbeaten 183 on Monday made a competitive total inadequate. How did he look at the target? "The main thing on my mind was to play the 50 overs and hit the winning runs," said Dhoni. Did he at any point think he would go past 200? "When I went past 150, I thought I should cross Gilchrist," he said.

Skipper pleased

Indian captain Rahul Dravid was understandably pleased. When asked if his mates were queuing up for the number three spot, he said, "We've put the challenge to different people and they have responded magnificently. One of the important things in one-day cricket is to have flexibility. And the important thing is you have the people who can give you that flexibility."

`Close to Sachin's'

On how Dhoni's innings stacked up against the best he had seen, the Indian captain said, "I've had the privilege of watching many great knocks from Sachin, from Sourav, from Veeru. But this was one of the best in a chase close to Sachin's knock against Australia at Sharjah."

Dhoni, who began cramping during his innings, said it had been a long stint for him, keeping for 50 overs and then batting for 46. The man from Jharkhand said Dravid had asked him to treat Muttiah Muralitharan with caution and pick up singles.

When asked if Dhoni's performance had improved the possibility of his making the Test squad, Dravid said, "That's a selection issue. But if you perform consistently in the opportunities given, you put yourself up for selection."

The man from Bangalore also said Harbhajan Singh's spell of ten overs for thirty runs in the context of the game was `very special.'

Sri Lankan wicket-keeper Kumara Sangakkara, whose century went in vain, said he was disappointed to lose but happy with the hundred. "Losing is disappointing and that's what makes us a good side, losing hurts."

Heartening

Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody said the improvement his side had shown was heartening, but there was little it could do to contain Dhoni. "Today it made no difference Power Play or no Power Play. The ball was being powed out of the ground."

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