The day belonged to the Indian captain. Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted his first double century in test cricket in over 200 balls. Thus, he became the first Indian wicket keeper to achieve this feat. Virat’s fiery century was overshadowed by MSD, yet, together, both have helped India attain a comfortable 135 runs lead over the visiting Australians at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai.
The day started with fans bungling in to watch the Little Master score a century. Soon, within half hour, it turned their dreams into a nightmare when Sachin Tendulkar was bowled between the gates to a timid Nathan Lyon. Sachin has been getting out in this fashion since the past year, and this is his achilles heel and perhaps the time to give up. He went for 81.
Virat started where he left off yesterday blasting his way to his century at a strike rate of 50. He soon lost concentration and succumbed to the spinner, caught at mid-on.
The story then belonged to Dhoni. He played with flourish, the way he plays in one dayers. Fours and sixes rained. Cross batted heaves and walking down the pitch was not uncommon. The much hyped Ravindra Jadeja flopped yet again and Harbhajan Singh floundered a golden opportunity to give his captain the stability to launch a bigger innings. But, the youngster from Uttar Pradesh, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar gave wonderful support and stayed not out with India ending at 515 for the loss of 8 wickets.
If India could extend the lead by another 50 runs, they have the match in their bag. Morning session will be tricky. Concentration of the batsmen will not be at the best, and perhaps a golden opportunity for Aussies to exploit and finish off the innings.
MSD has taken the ship forward by himself, something that he hasn’t been able to since appointed captain. It is time for him to answer his critics or hang up his captaincy. For now, he has survived for a series for two. The real test is when India tours outside the sub continent. Will he be able to replicate it?