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Dhoni’s century was brutal and violent

Now it’s up to the spinners to win the game for India

Gulf News

Two centuries in contrasting styles have given India the chance to begin the four-Test series against Australia with a win. While Virat Kohli’s century was a typical hard-earned one, you often see in Test cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s was a brutal violent one.

It was as if the Indian skipper was taking his angst out of his system and the poor Australian bowlers came in the way and bore the brunt of it. He has come in for a fair share of criticism for his performance as a skipper in the series against England last year, which India lost, and he seemed to have decided that while he will still be ‘captain cool’, he won’t be shy of expressing his displeasure when necessary.

He did that a few times as the Indians wilted when Michael Clarke built partnerships with Moses Henriques and Peter Siddle, and it won’t be a surprise if we find those players who were slow, out of the team, unless, of course, they come good in the second innings. That is how it should be, for when you are representing your country you must be wholeheartedly in the game and not let your mind wander about.

The skipper cannot always look around at every fielder, and the fielders themselves have to use a bit of common cricketing sense about when to try and save a run and when to drop back a few paces.

It was great to see a nearly full house at the Chidambaram stadium, and while most would have come in the hope of seeing ‘The Little Master’ getting another Test century at this venue, they would have gone home very satisfied with what they saw. Sachin Tendulkar missed out on a ton, but it was he who had given the Indian team the belief that they could take the attack to the opposition.

The crisp manner in which he began his innings was confidence-boosting for the youngsters Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli. Pujara was looking very good when he was surprisingly bowled by James Pattinson, who was the pick of the Australian bowlers. Kohli did not miss out as he played himself in and then worked the ball to all corners of the ground. It would have been a most satisfying century for him.

Dhoni had quickly sensed that Nathan Lyon could be dangerous and so he set after him, and that prompted a change from the Aussie skipper Clarke. By the time Lyon was brought back again, he did not have the same rhythm with which he had begun the day and during which he had got the prized scalp of Tendulkar.

Dhoni continued to get after the bowling, but it was also a calculated attack that took the game away from the visitors. His first double ton in Test cricket was studded with boundaries galore and some huge sixes, bringing the crowd repeatedly on its feet. It has given India a very good chance to win the Test, and with the pitch taking increasing spin, the spinners have to do it for India.

— Professional Management Group