March 24, 2009

Dhoni in Test Match #36

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India vs New Zealand, India in New Zealand, 2009 - 1st Test
Date: 18-21 March 2009

A Strong win by India
Another clinical display by the Indian cricket team under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Winning might have become a regular habit for this Indian team. But, even for them, a victory after 33 years in New Zealand should have been a sweet achievement. A mystery finally resolved. This New Zealand might not have greats like Sir Richard Hadlee or Stephen Fleming, but they have promising youngsters under a captain, Daniel Vettori, who leads by example.

Dhoni, winning the toss, inserted New Zealand in. His bowlers did not diappoint him. Immediately, Zaheer Khan picked two wickets. Ishant Sharma followed almost immediately with three wickets. Munaf Patel, not to be left behind, picked one wicket. New Zealand were in deep trouble with the score card reading 60 for the loss of 6 wickets. Then, came the New Zealand resistance through their skipper Daniel Vettori and the in-form batsman Jesse Ryder. The two put on 186 runs for the seventh wicket, Vettori being the aggressive partner. Both Vettori and Ryder scored centuries and New Zealand were finally dismissed for a score of 279 runs.

India's reply did not have the best start after Virender Sehwag was run out for just 24 runs. But, Gambhir and Dravid collected the runs in a cool and composed partnership of 105 runs for the second wicket. At the dismissal of Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar walked in and played an innings that reminded his early days. His knock of 160 runs was instrumental in India posting a big first innings total of 520 runs. Don't forget the contributions of Dhoni (47 runs) and Zaheer Khan (51 not out).

New Zealand started the second innings requiring 241 runs to avoid an innings defeat. Controversial dismissal of McIntosh off the third delivery from Zaheer Khan did not help them. Regular wickets by the Indians put New Zealand under pressure and the innings defeat looked on the cards when Daniel Vettori was dismissed and the score was 199 for 8. Then came a partnership of 76 runs between Brendon McCullum and Iain O'Brien that ensured India bat again. Harbhajan Singh bowled well for his six wickets.

India needed just 32 deliveries to knock off the 39 runs required for victory. The victory was achieved with a day to spare and with a margin of 10 wickets. History rewritten after 33 years!

1st Innings:
New Zealand 279 (Daniel Vettori 118, Jesse Ryder 102, Ishant Sharma 4 for 73, Munaf Patel 3 for 60)

India 520 (Sachin Tendulkar 160, Gautam Gambhir 72, Rahul Dravid 66, Zaheer Khan 51 not out, CS Martin 3 for 98, Iain O'Brien 3 for 103)

2nd Innings:
New Zealand 279 (Brendon McCullum 84, Flynn 67, Harbhajan Singh 6 for 63, Munaf Patel 2 for 60)
India 39 for no loss (Gambhir 30 not out, Dravid 8 not out)

Match Result: India won by 10 wickets

Man of the match: Sachin Tendulkar, for his 160

Dhoni's performance in the 1st innings:
Catches : 3 / Stumpings : 1
Batting: 47 runs (123 balls), 4s: 7/ 6s: 0

Dhoni's performance in the 2nd innings:
Catches : 1 / Stumpings : 0
Batting: Did Not Bat


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