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Dhoni's maiden double ton put India in driving seat

Posted on Feb 24, 09:31PM | IBNS

Chennai, Feb 24 : India were in complete command of the first Test thanks to a majestic maiden double by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a fine century by Virat Kohli on the third day at the M.A.Chidambaram Stadium here Sunday.

Dhoni remained unbeaten on 206 and had Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (16 not out) in company as India ended the day at 515 for eight in the first innings at stumps. India stretched its lead to 135 runs.

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 fire 243-ball knock by Dhoni and was studded with 22 fours and massive five sixes.

Much was expected from Sachin Tendulkar but the batting maestro was dismmised on 81 early on in the first session.

But fans were in for some great entertainment as Dhoni and Kohli, who made a fine 107, destroyed the Australian attack with their audacious stroke play. They added 128-runs that took India to a position of strength.

Earlier resuming the day at 182/3, India added 81 runs in the morning session by losing the wicket of Tendulkar.

It was a hard fought session 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. It was a much needed break for Australia in their attempt to defend their first innings score of 380. The 39-year-old last scored a hundred two years ago in January 2011.

But the joy was shortlived as Dhoni and Kohli slowly took the match away from the Australia's grasp.

When Dhoni walked in the situation was tensed as India managed just 14 runs in the first hour and also lost the wicket of Tendulkar. But Dhoni quickly changed the scene smashing the bowlers to all part of the ground.

Dhoni's 128-run partnership with Kohli was ended when he thrashed once too many times at Lyon.

Australia slowly started feeling the heat and tension surfaced after tea with a verbal altercation between Dhoni and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade that required Michael Clarke to play mediator.

Ravindra Jadeja (16), Ravichandran Ashwin (3) and Harbhajan Singh (11) all departed quickly and Dhoni risked running out of partners.

But Kumar ably surpported Dhoni, who en route to his 206 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.