Once MS Dhoni got in past the initial stages, he rewrote a lot of records, both individual and the for the ninth-wicket partnership. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at the records that tumbled in front of the Indian captain during his epic at Chennai.
Up against what looked like a formidable by Australians, India were reeling at 12 for two. When a well-set Sachin Tendulkar finally fell for 81 to break the hearts of a billion, out strode MS Dhoni; little did the Chennai crowd realize that they would witness something as spectacular as they have done today.
Not only was the innings of a superlative quality (206 not out from 243 balls with 22 fours and five sixes), it also took India to 515 for eight at the end of the third day — a position from where they can command the course of the Test.
He also set a lot of records — both personal and for his team.
Here is a list of the milestones that tumbled in front of the Dhoni juggernaut on Sunday:
· When Dhoni scored 93, he registered his highest score against Australia. His previous best was 92 at Mohali in 2008-09.
· When he reached 117, Dhoni reached 4,000 Test runs. He became the first Indian wicket-keeper and the seventh overall to do so.
· When he reached 145, Dhoni bettered his own Indian record of the highest score for an Indian wicket-keeper captain; he had earlier scored 144 against West Indies at Kolkata in 2011-12. In fact, he has scored all five Test hundreds by Indian wicket-keeper captains.
· At 149, Dhoni registered his new personal highest score. His previous highest was 148 against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 2005-06.
· One run later, he registered his maiden Test 150. This was the first 150 by an Indian captain since Tendulkar’s 217 against New Zealand at Ahmedabad in 1999-2000.
· At 156, Dhoni registered the highest score against Australia at Chennai, going past Sachin Tendulkar’s 155 not out in 1997-98.
· At 164, Dhoni went past Mohammad Azharuddin’s 163 not out to register the highest Test score by an Indian captain against Australia.
· At 165, Dhoni registered the highest score for any captain wicket-keeper, overhauling Alec Stewart’s 164 against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1998.
· At 167, Dhoni went past Sunil Gavaskar’s 166 to register the highest score by a captain at Chennai. Gavaskar had scored his 166 against Pakistan in 1979-80.
· At 181, Dhoni went past Rahul Dravid’s 180, scored against Australia at Kolkata in 2000-01, to register the highest score by an Indian No 6 batsman at home. Dravid’s 180 was also the record by any No 6 six batsman against Australia.
· At 192, Dhoni went past Kumar Sangakkara’s 191 to hold the record for most runs made in a day by a wicket-keeper.
· At 193, Dhoni bettered Budhi Kunderan’s 192 (scored against England at Madras in 1963-64) — the highest score by any Indian wicket-keeper, as well as the highest score by any wicket-keeper at Chennai.
· At 196, Dhoni went past Virender Sehwag’s 195 — at Melbourne in 2003-04 — to register the highest score by an Indian against Australia in a single day.
· At 197, Dhoni registered 100 runs in the post-tea session. He became the fourth Indian after VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, and Sehwag to score a hundred in the final session of a day. The other Indians to score 100 runs in a single session are Polly Umrigar, Azharuddin, and Sehwag (twice) – all in the second session. No Indian has ever scored 100 in the first session.
· Dhoni also became the first wicket-keeper to score 200 runs in a single day.
· Dhoni also became the fourth Indian captain to score a double-hundred. Apart from Tendulkar (mentioned above), the others are MAK Pataudi (203 not out against England at Delhi in 1963-64) and Gavaskar (205 against West Indies at Mumbai in 1978-79).
· Dhoni also became the seventh wicket-keeper to score a 200. The other players to do so are Imtiaz Ahmed (209 against New Zealand at Lahore in 1955-56), Taslim Arif (210 not out against Australia at Faisalabad in 1979-80), Brendon Kuruppu (201 not out against New Zealand at Colombo in 1986-87), Andy Flower (232 not out against India at Nagpur in 2000-01), Gilchrist (206 not out at Johannesburg in 2001-02), and Sangakkara (230 against Pakistan at Lahore in 2001-02).
· Dhoni now holds the record for the third-most runs as Indian captain, going past Sourav Ganguly’s 2,561. At 2,667 he is behind only Gavaskar (3,449) and Azharuddin (2,856).
· With a cut-off of 25 Tests, Dhoni now ranks third among Indian captains with an average of 45.20, behind only Tendulkar (51.35) and Gavaskar (50.72). He is ahead of the likes of Dravid (44.51), Azharuddin (43.93), Ganguly (37.66) and Pataudi (34.14).
· Dhoni’s 2,667 runs as wicket-keeper captain is significantly ahead of Andy Flower’s 1,232. His tally of five hundreds as wicket-keeper captain is also a world record.
· At 90, Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar went past the Indian record for the ninth wicket against Australia, bettering the 89 between Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan at Bangalore in 2004-05.
· The unbroken 109-run-partnership between Dhoni and Kumar is the highest Indian ninth-wicket partnership in the 21st century, going past Harbhajan and Irfan’s partnership mentioned above.
· The last 100-run ninth-wicket partnership for India came in 1983-84 — when Gavaskar and Syed Kirmani had put on an unbeaten 143 at Madras against West Indies. It remains the highest ninth-wicket partnership at Madras.
· This was the first occasion since 1999-2000 when seven or more batsmen were dismissed bowled in an innings. The last instance was set by England against South Africa at Port Elizabeth. This was the third such occasion for India.
· This was also the seventh instance of numbers five and six scoring hundreds for India in the same innings. Had Tendulkar reached his 100 as well, this would have been only the second instance of numbers four, five, and six scoring hundreds for India in the same innings.
Batting records Dhoni may go past tomorrow
· If Dhoni gets to 218, he will go past AB de Villiers’s 217 not out against India at Ahmedabad in 2007-08, and register the highest score by a No 6 six on Indian soil.
· On 218, he will also go past Tendulkar’s 217 against New Zealand at Ahmedabad in 1999-2000 — the highest Test score by an Indian captain (which is also the highest score by an Indian captain at home).
· If he gets to 233, he will go past Andy Flower’s record of 232 not out against India at Nagpur in 2000-01 — the highest-ever score by a wicket-keeper in Tests. (Though Kumar Sangakkara scored 270 against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in May 2004, Prasanna Jayawardene was the designated wicketkeeper and Sangakkara kept the wickets only for a while.)
· If he gets to 243, he will go past Clive Lloyd’s 242 not out — against India at Bombay in 1974-75 — and register the highest score by a captain on Indian soil.
· If he gets to 251, he will go past Doug Walters’ 250 — against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1976-77 — to become the highest scorer by a No 6 batsman.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ovshake and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)