Dhoni, Kohli crush Australia on Day 3
Virat Kohli hit his second consecutive Test hundred while MS Dhoni hit his first Test double as India batted through Day 3 of the first Test at Chennai against Australia.
India were on 515/8 at Stumps with a lead of 135 in reply to Australia’s first innings total of 380.
Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli had started the day on 71* and 50* respectively with India’s score on 182/3. Peter Siddle and James Pattinson bowled in a tight partnership and the ensuing pressure saw Tendulkar (81, 159b, 7x4) being beautifully bowled on 81 by Nathan Lyon. Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked in with the run rate flagging and India far behind Australia’s first innings score of 380 at 196/4.
He launched into an attack that left the Aussies stunned and in turn broke the shackles off Virat’s scoring. Their 50 run partnership came off just 63 balls and India went to Lunch at a healthy 263/4. Post lunch Dhoni went berserk when the new ball was taken, racing to his 50 (59b, 7x4) and the 100 partnership came up off 136b, their second in two Tests.
Kohli had composed a calm knock at the other end and in the following over he brought up his second consecutive hundred in Tests with a four off Pattinson. Moises Henriques was brought into the attack only to be hit for a six off his first ball and it seemed these two would themselves take India past the Australian total. Virat though couldn’t resist the temptation of fuller and flighted delivery from Lyon. He tried to go over mid on unsuccessfully, caught by Mitchell Starc for 107 (206b, 15x7, 1x6) to bring the 128 run partnership for the fifth wicket to an end.
A very tentative looking Ravindra Jadeja was nearly run out by Dhoni and survived a couple of loud appeals but still managed to add 41 for the sixth wicket with his skipper. He left a delivery sharply angled in by Pattinson only to his off stump being uprooted.
Ashwin was bowled right after the tea break when he hit a ball from Lyon onto his stumps off his shoe. Dhoni then accelerated, charging at Peter Siddle to loft him for four over square leg and bring up his ton, hitting Lyon for a six a few overs later to bring up his 4000th Test run. India crossed the Australian score and Harbhajan tonked a six himself but lost his wicket to an ungainly slog across the line to give Henriques his first wicket in Tests.
Dhoni carried on, farming the strike with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing out entire overs for singles but making use of every loose ball. His third fifty took 66 balls and he raced from there, taking just another 46 deliveries to bring up his first double hundred in Tests, off 231b. The celebration was modest, the helmet didn’t even come off but the significance of the knock was understood.
His credibility as a Test batsman under question, he had produced an innings to take India from the brink of a collapse to a huge lead, batting with the tail, taking on one of the best attacks in world cricket at the moment. India had dominated the moving day of this Test to finish 135 runs ahead of the Australians on 515/8, Dhoni unbeaten on 206* (243b, 22x4, 5x6).