July 26, 2007

Dhoni in Test Match #18: Day 5

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India vs England, India in England, Pataudi Trophy Test Series (2007) - 1st Test
Date: 19-23 July 2007

Day 5 (23 July 2007): Dhoni and Rain save India

If Pieterson is the hero on day 4, it is the turn of Mahendra Singh Dhoni to hog the limelight today. It may not be the best innings from Dhoni, but his commitment to stay longer has helped India to save the match on the final day. Dhoni's effort brought India closer, but bad light and intermittent rain prevented England from going on to the field to pick up the last wicket.

It started off disastrously for India in the morning. The overnight batsmen, Ganguly and Karthik, were back in the pavilion before the 7th over is completed. Then came the pair of Laxman and Dhoni, which frustrated the England bowlers. The rate at which they scored the runs even raised some hopes of an Indian victory. Laxman played a responsible innings of 39 runs (90 balls). More importantly, his partnership with Dhoni of 86 runs from close to 29 overs helped the Indians to save the match.

If Sachin's dismissal to spinners looks very familiar now, then Laxman's failure to negotiate the low bouncing incoming deliveries is becoming a replay from his earlier matches. Once Laxman is gone, England realised they can beat the light/ rain to win the game. In the next 15 overs, they removed Kumble, Zaheer and RP Singh. It is a horrible sight to see the way Zaheer and RP Singh got dismissed. With fading light and Dhoni in control at the other end, they just need to face a few deliveries and play defensive strokes. But, they chose otherwise and perished to attacking shots.

By this time, the ground is dark and only Vaughan and Panesar were able to bowl. The next five overs saw some intense fight between the bowlers and the last Indian pair. Sree Santh survived a loud appeal for lbw from Panesar. The umpires finally decided to offer the light to the batsmen, just about 5 minutes before tea break. Thats it and the play never resumed.

Dhoni played a very good innings in which he faced as much as 159 deliveries. Thats about 27 overs out of the total 96 overs Indians faced in the second innings. He had luck on his side, but his ability to play anchor innings is clearly evident. In the event, he brought up his fifth half-century. This should be a really satisfying innings for Dhoni after he just managed to sneak into the final eleven for the match ahead of Yuvraj Singh. Its been a familiar sight now to see the two wicket-keepers are instrumental in India's performance. Together, they faced 294 deliveries, which is more than 50% of the 96 overs bowled. Well done keepers!

Result: The match is drawn.
Player of the match: Pieterson

1st innings:
England 298 (Strauss 96, Vaughan 79, Sree Santh 3 for 67)
India 201 (Jaffer 58, Dhoni 0, Anderson 5 for 42)

2nd innings:
England 282 (Pieterson 134, RP Singh 5 for 59)
India 282/9 (Karthik 60, Dhoni 76 not out, Tremlett 3 for 52)

1 comment:

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