1st Test: Never even dreamt of playing for Team India, says a modest MS Dhoni

2:21 PM, Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

 Mahendra Singh DhoniChennai:  Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Tuesday modest in admitting that he never dreamt of playing for the country, leave aside scoring a double hundred in Test cricket ever in his career.

Dhoni smashed 224 for off 265 deliveries in India’s first innings score of 572 in reply to Australia’s 380 to lay the foundation for the hosts’ convincing eight-wicket victory in the opening cricket Test of the four-match series here.

Questioned about his majestic double century, Dhoni replied:”I had never dreamt that I would get a double in Tests. I had never even dreamt of playing for the country. So, let’s just keep it simple.”

Coming onto bat on the third day of match with India at 196 for four, Dhoni produced a stunning counter-attacking knock on a difficult Chepauk pitch to notch up his maiden double ton, his sixth Test century overall.

“It was important to play some shots. If you have those extra catching fielders, you might make one mistake and end your innings. I had to play a few shots to try and spread the field. That was the motive,” said Dhoni, who was also adjudjed the man-of-the-match for his stunning knock.

“But the first partnership was important. Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Cheteshwar) Pujara batted for a period of time. The partnership between Virat (Kohli) and Sachin was crucial. It tired the bowlers a bit.”

The Indian skipper reserved special praise for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who returned with a match haul of 12 for 198.

“Ashwin bowled brilliantly. He bowled in right areas and has got variations. He was consistent in this match. In the second innings, he was well supported by Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh).”

Having learnt a hard lesson from England series which they lost 1-2 after winning the first Test, Dhoni doesn’t want to get complacent as the job is far from being over yet.

“It’s important to be focussed now, but at the same time it is important that the bowlers take some time off now,” he said.

Australia captain Michael Clarke refused to give an excuses for the defeat and said they were completely “outplayed” by India, who used the conditions to their advantage.

Clarke was of the view that Dhoni’s double ton was game changer for India.

“Full credit to India. They played outstanding cricket, especially Dhoni. The way he played that changed the game completely,” he said.

“The pitch was good. It looked a lot worse than it played. In the second innings, it played tougher, but that’s what you expect in the sub-continent. No excuses, we got outplayed,” the Australian skipper insisted.

He praised Moises Henriques, who scored back-to-back half centuries on debut.

“Moises’ debut is a positive. He was outstanding on debut. But we have got to turn things around. Work hard in the nets and get ready for the next Test match,” Clarke said.

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