Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed what the saying 'taking it by the scruff of the neck' means with the way he counterattacked Australia in the first Test at Chennai.
When the Indian skipper came in to bat, India had recovered from the early loss of its openers, but was still some way off Australia's total. The
Aussies were also buoyed by the wicket of 'The Master' Sachin Tendulkar when he looked set for yet another Test century. Dhoni sensed that Nathan Lyon could be the main man as well as the weak link in the Australian attack and set about him.
He continued to step down the pitch even to the Australian quicks and unsettle them. His double century not only ranks as one of the best seen, but also for the game changer it was, and helped India to take a substantial lead over the Australians.
While Dhoni’s innings was the turning point of the game, there was plenty of spin from Ravichandran Ashwin that had the Aussies reeling in both the innings. Ashwin got 12 wickets in the match, and on most other occasions, would also have been man of the match for his performance but for the fact that Dhoni got his double hundred on a pitch that was more bowler friendly.
Ashwin is a ready learner, and he had worked out that he was trying too hard against England. In Chennai, he focused on his strength, the off
spinner, and rarely bowled the 'flicker' and arm ball. He had also changed his line of attack to just on or outside the off stump, thereby limiting
the batsmen from working him away with the turn for easy runs on the leg side as happened against England.
There was another bowler who impressed and that was South African debutant, Kyle Abbott, who picked up seven wickets in the first innings and two in the second innings as South Africa swamped Pakistan for a clean sweep of the series. The South Africans have thus put a fair distance between themselves, and it does not look possible for another team to catch up with them and snatch the number one ranking by April 1st.
The West Indians also have won the one-day series against Zimbabwe quite comfortably and will be hoping to move up the ranking points.
Despite Dhoni’s blazing double century, it is Ravichandran Ashwin who, with his match haul of 12 wickets, is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group