It was the story of a hundred that wasn't to be and of two others that delighted the traditional Test cricket lovers in Chennai. An hour and a
half before the game began, they were milling around the Chidambaram Stadium like a paid crowd might have been for a political rally. Only some of them could get in (and that is a story in itself) but those that could will have gone back feeling their love for the game wasn't misplaced.
Virat Kohli got the first of those hundreds and it was a measured innings, full of solidity and maturity. It wasn't the innings of a rebellious adolescent, it wasn't tattoos and spiky gelled hair if you know what I mean. This was a responsible man growing in stature and making a statement of his ability.
He was solid and right behind the line to pace and his hitting through the on-side against reverse swing earned much praise from VVS Laxman, one of the finest of that genre. There will be many more and there will be much more joy. When Tendulkar says good-bye - and he looked in
such good nick that farewell needn't be on the agenda for the next three weeks - number four has a ready tenant.
But the innings that turned the game around came from the captain playing on what many in this city believe is his home ground. James Pattinson had just bowled an excellent spell and Nathan Lyon was spinning it beautifully from the rough; and with the drift and turn, even getting through
Only 21 came from 13 overs in the first hour and India ran the risk of being choked out of the match. Somebody had to take a calculated chance and Dhoni did that, taking on the bowling, occasionally hitting the quick bowlers over the top and launching an astonishing counter-attack on the second new ball. Tactically, it was a brilliant innings.
It has allowed India to get into a position from where they should be able to dominate this Test.