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Dhoni double puts India on top

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck his maiden double century to lift India to a mammoth 515/8 in their first innings at the end of the third day's play in the first cricket Test against Australia at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 206 and had Bhuvneshwar Kumar (16 not out) for company as India ended the day with an impressive lead of 135 runs. Australia scored 380 runs in their first innings.

Dhoni and Kumar added 109 runs for the unfinished ninth-wicket stand that took India to a dominating position after they were reduced to 406/8. It was a quick 243-ball knock by Dhoni and was studded with 22 fours and massive five sixes. Though batting great Sachin Tendulkar failed to break his two-year wait for a Test century, falling for 81 in the morning, what followed next was pure carnage by Dhoni and heir to his captaincy Virat Kohli, who made a valuable 107. But it was Dhoni's knock that stood out as he almost single-handedly blunted the Australian bowling attack.

Dhoni walked in after India had scored just 14 runs after an hour's play and had lost Tendulkar, who was bowled by off-spinner Nathan Lyon (3/182). Dhoni and Kohli then launched a counter-attack for their 128-run fifth-wicket stand but the scoring slowed down after Kohli was dismissed by Lyon. Kohli in his attempt to get aggressive was caught by Mitchell Starc off the bowling of Lyon. Ravindra Jadeja (16), Ravichandran Ashwin (3) and Harbhajan Singh (11) all departed quickly and Dhoni risked running out of partners.

Kumar, however, proved an able ally for Dhoni. The debutant managed just 16 runs but made sure that his captain got the maximum amount of strike. Dhoni was in complete control of his brilliant innings and simply toyed with the Australian bowlers. En route to his 206, Dhoni also crossed a few milestones, crossing the 4000-run mark in Tests. It was also the second highest individual score as an Indian captain and also the highest Test score by an Indian wicketkeeper. Dhoni is now just 28 runs short of the highest score by a wicketkeeper in the history of cricket, 232 by Zimbabwean Andy Flower.

Earlier, after losing Tendulkar, Kohli took the attack to the Australian bowling as he completed his fourth century, a knock which included 15 boundaries and one six.The first session was an evenly fought contest with Australian pacers bowling tightly. Tendulkar was well set to get his 52nd Test hundred until Lyon bowled him off a flighted ball that turned sharply. The 39-year-old last scored a Test hundred two years ago in January 2011. agencies


BATSMEN SHOWED HOW TO BAT ON THIS PITCH: WADE

After being hammered around the park on Sunday, Australian wicket-keeper Matthew Wade said Indian batsmen showed them how to bat on such a pitch which is deteriorating fast but still has lot of runs in it. India scored 333 runs on day three of the first Test with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni scoring a majestic double century and young Virat Kohli a patient century. ‘Dhoni played brilliantly and it was unbelievable. Most of the younger players are in the sub-continent for the first time and we can learn a lot from the way the Indian batsmen played today. It is a learning curve,’ Wade told reporters after day's play, adding, ‘If we can take anything about the day today the last part of the innings and the partnership, there are runs in the pitch. I know that for sure. Of course the pitch will deteriorate and we expected it. We came here ten days before the Test and the pitch looked to be getting final finishes and we knew what is there for us.’ Wade said their performance on Monday will have bearing on the outcome of the series-opener. ‘If there is anything for us in this Test, it is coming tomorrow and getting those two wickets. If we take some quick wickets and bat on, it is important for us in the whole series. It is about how we back ourselves tomorrow as a team,’ he said.
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