Millennium Post

An era ends with series defeat

An era ends with series defeat
Skipper MS Dhoni (24 not out) played a responsible knock to force a draw for India against Australia on a tense fifth and final day of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Tuesday.

In a shocking revealation soon after the match, BCCI announced Dhoni’s retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect after his team lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Australia here.

“One of India’s greatest Test captains under whose leadership India became the No. 1 team in the Test rankings MS Dhoni, has decided to retire from Test cricket citing the strain of playing all formats of cricket,” BCCI said in a statement.

Coming back to the game, Dhoni’s patient innings, together with spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (8 not out) put on a brave 32-run seventh-wicket partnership to bail out India from a tight spot and avoid a third consecutive defeat against the hosts. The match ended with India reaching 174 for six.

But the draw wasn’t enough for India to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy as Australia now have a unbeatable 2-0 lead after three Tests in the four-match series. The fourth match begins from Jan 6 in Sydney. Australia declared their second innings at 318 for nine courtesy of middle-order batsman Shaun Marsh’s 99, to expand their lead to 383 runs.

Chasing a stiff target of 384 in 70 overs, India’s run chase began on a disastrous note, losing the wickets of openers Shikhar Dhawan (0), Murali Vijay (11) and Lokesh Rahul (1) in quick succession. Australia’s pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Harris and Hazlewood collectively wrecked havoc as they shared the three wickets to fall.

However, the Indians pulled things back, posting 104 for three at tea, with in-form first innings centurions Virat Kohli (54) and Ajinya Rahane (48) holding fort at the MCG. But pacer Ryan Harris (2/30) took the big wicket of Kohli with the first ball after tea, snapping the 85-run strong fourth-wicket partnership to give Australia the upper hand. The hosts got further impetus from the quick dismissals of Cheteshwar Pujara (21) and Rahane that reduced India to 142/6  with 15 overs still to play. But Dhoni-Ashwin stood tall to ensure India avoid another away series whitewash.

MSD’s 6th overseas series loss

Year                        Opposition              Result
2014                          Australia                 Trail 0-2
2014                          England                   Lost 1-3
2014                        New zealand              Lost 0-1
2013                        South africa               Lost 0-1
2011-12                     Australia                  Lost 0-4
2011                          England                   Lost 0-4

Virat Kohli to lead in Sydney

After MS Dhoni’s shock retirement from Test cricket on Tuesday, Virat Kohli is set to don the mantle of captaincy in in the fourth and final match in Sydney. India are trailing 0-2 in the four-match series after Tuesday’s draw. Kohli has been India’s standout performer with the bat in the ongoing series, having scored three hundreds so far. “Virat Kohli will be the captain of the Indian Team for the Fourth and Final Test against Australia to be played in Sydney from the 6th of January 2015,” the BCCI stated.

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