India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been on a rollercoaster ride in terms of form this year, doing well against Pakistan, and then faltering against England, but reaching the crest of his wave this weekend against Australia.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been on a rollercoaster ride in terms of form this year, doing well against Pakistan with a few half centuries, and then faltering against England in the one-dayers, but reaching the crest of his wave this weekend against Australia.
The wicketkeeper-batsman broke a number of records during his marathon six-hour innings in Chennai, performing miracles on a pitch that looked like a sand trap at Augusta and spun like a top on glass (unless you were Nathan Lyon, of course).
The captain's knock of 224 was the highest by a wicketkeeper against Australia, and the highest by an Indian skipper against anyone, beating Sachin Tendulkar's previous best of 217 when he was captain in the late 1990s.
Dhoni came to the middle with his side in trouble on 196 for four, chasing Australia's 380 on a rapidly deteriorating deck. Tendulkar had already thrilled the crowd with an old-school 81, and Virat Kohli was on track for a ton.
Dhoni laughed in the face of Australia's bowling attack, using Lyon in particular as cannon fodder, hitting five of his six sixes off the spinner. Lyon went for 215 runs in his 47 overs, while Dhoni required only 265 balls for his 224.
His innings pushed the score to 572, which Australia were always going to struggle with, given Ravichandran Ashwin's utter demolition of the line up, taking 12 wickets in the match (Holla!). Only Moises Henriques' 81 not out prevented an innings defeat, as the Aussies lost by eight wickets.
One has to feel sorry for Michael Clarke though. The guy is a machine, scores boatloads of runs, and still ends up on the losing side on a regular basis. It happened against South Africa, where not even double tons could secure wins, and here he scored a 130 that did nothing other than pad his average.
Elsewhere, honourable mentions must go to West Indies trio Ramnaresh Sarwan (120 not out), Johnson Charles (130) and Darren Bravo (100 not out) who scored big runs to secure the ODI series against Zimbabwe, while South Africa's Kyle Abbott took 7/29 on debut in the first innings against Pakistan, helping the Proteas win by an innings and 18 runs.
Lindsay du Plessis