Sent into bat, India scored 227 for six in the first One-day International against Pakistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium at Chennai on Sunday.
Dhoni’s eighth One-Day International (ODI) century included his 7000th run in the format as he went about digging India out of the deep ditch carved by Pakistani quicks Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan. The Indian skipper’s effort was phenomenal, when at one stage it did seem like the entire team would be bundled out under three figures.
Earlier, Pakistan skipper won the toss and rightly elected to field first in overcast conditions. Incessant rains over the last few days had left the MA Chidambaram Stadium with a wet outfield and a pitch that was bound to keep low and provide a lot of assistance to the bowlers.
Junaid and Irfan made faultless use of the conditions as the top four Indian batsmen were out bowled within the first six overs, while Rohit Sharma edged to the slips in the tenth over where Mohammad Hafeez to a fantastic diving catch.
At 29 for five, the Eden Garden crowd had gone silent and there were plenty of morose faces spotted on camera. A low-scoring game was on the cards given the conditions, but not even the most pessimistic among the spectators would have expected India to be bowled out under 100, which was where the match was going.
Out walked Dhoni at number seven, with a different plan in mind. Along with Suresh Raina, Dhoni set about in his task to steady the Indian ship against the menacing swing and movement off the Pakistani quicks.
Dhoni and Raina played astutely in difficult conditions and took India past the 100-run mark, before Raina was deceived by Hafeez’s off-spin. With the score on 102 for six and 17 overs to go, Dhoni knew that the job wasn’t done. He needed to forge another partnership lower down the order, and what better man than Ravichandran Ashwin to do that with.
Brief Scores: India 227 for 6 in 50 overs (MS Dhoni 113*, Suresh Raina 43, R Ashwin 31*; Junaid Khan 4 for 43) vs Pakistan
Catch live scores and ball-by-ball commentary of the first ODI match at Chennai between India and Pakistan here
First Published: December 30, 2012, 2:08 pm