Chennai, Feb 24: It was one of the best Test innings in India and came from the home captain. MS Dhoni was just brilliant at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. On way to an exceptional double hundred, Dhoni broke few records in the first Test against Australia.
At stumps on third day, Dhoni had powered India to 515/8 in 141 overs with a lead of 135. He was 206 not out (243 balls, 23x4, 5x6) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar on 16.
The third day's play was entirely dominated by Indian batsmen and Virat Kohli and Dhoni in particular. Kohli struck a century but Dhoni carried on to secure his first double.
The wicketkeeper-batsman set a record for highest Test score by an Indian stumper. Dhoni, when on 193, beat Budhi Kunderan's Indian record of 192. Kunderan too had scored those runs in Chennai against England in 1964.
Also, Dhoni set a new mark for the highest score for wicketkeeper-captain, erasing Englishman Alec Stewart's 164. He also became only the fourth Indian captain to register a double hundred after Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and MAK Pataudi.
Dhoni also moved to second spot in highest score by an Indian captain, behind Tendulkar's 217. The man from Jharkhand also now holds the highest score by an Indian captain against Australia.
The holiday crowd that arrived at the stadium was expecting a three-figure score from Tendulkar. But instead they were privileged to witness one of the best 200s in Test cricket. Very few have managed to score a double ton in a day's play.
The way Dhoni attacked offspinner Nathan Lyon was a lesson for the visitors. Dhoni smashed four sixes and eight boundaries off Lyon and ransacked 91 from 73 balls. Australia's number one spinner was humiliated by the Indian captain and he won't forget this in a hurry. Lyon's final analysis read 40-1-182-3.
Right from the start, Dhoni preferred to be aggressive. He walked out to the middle when India were 196/4 in 63.1 overs. First he had a fine partnership with Kohli and then farmed the strike with Bhuvneshwar. Dhoni-Bhuvneshwar's ninth wicket association has so far yielded a record 109.
It was a "Captain Cool" innings that left the Australians feeling the heat. And he is still not finished yet.
At tea, India 371/6
Virat Kohli's fine hundred and captain MS Dhoni's brilliant counter-attacking innings led India closer to Australia's first innings total on the third day of the first Test here on Sunday.
Kohli and Dhoni's splendid batting display took India to 371/6 at tea with the captain on 97 not out (116 balls, 12x4 1x6) and R Ashwin (3 not out).
Kohli hit his fourth Test hundred and second in a row. This was also his second century against the Australians. The Delhi youngster hit 15 fours and a six in 107 off 206 balls. He reached the landmark with a boundary off James Pattinson in the 87th over. Soon he fell to Nathan Lyon, caught by Mitchell Starc at mid-on.
In the post-lunch session, India lost the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja for 16. He left an incoming ball from Pattinson and had the offstump disturbed.
It was all Kohli-Dhoni show. After Australia took the second new ball for the 83rd over, Dhoni smashed the new cherry to all parts of the ground. Switching to ODI mode, he raced to 85 off 79 balls but slowed down nearing his century. From 85 to 97 he consumed 37 deliveries.
At lunch, India 263/4
It was disappointment for the Sunday crowd as Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed for 81, bowled by Nathan Lyon on the third day of the first India-Australia Test here. At lunch, India were 263/4 in 79 overs.
It was an excellent spell of bowling from pacemen Peter Siddle and James Pattinson where India did not manage to score a run for more than four overs. Soon, fast bowlers made way to Lyon and he struck with the pitch already showing variable bounce.
Tendulkar, going for a drive, inside-edged the ball and was bowled through the gate. The ball hit the legstump. It was a classical offspinner's dismissal. The ball did hit one of the footmarks on the pitch.
After Tendulkar's dismissal, captain MS Dhoni arrived and started attacking the bowlers. He and Kohli added 67 runs in quick time and went to lunch. Dhoni is 37 not out and Kohli is unbeaten on 83.
It was a riveting first hour of play where Australia bowlers dominated. But that advantage shifted to India when Dhoni and Kohli took the aggressive route. With one over before the second new ball is available, another two hours of keen contest beckons.
Start of the day update
All eyes are on Tendulkar as third day's play began here on Sunday in the first Test between India and Australia. Will Tendulkar get a hundred is the question today.
Tendulkar and Virat Kohli looked good on Saturday and took India to 182/3. Tendulkar is on 71 and Kohli on 50. India are trailing by 198 runs.
Tendulkar is without a century for more than two years. His last Test hundred was against South Africa in January, 2011.