MS Dhoni shocked the world when he announced his retirement from Tests in December 2014    Getty Images
MS Dhoni shocked the world when he announced his retirement from Tests in December 2014 Getty Images

Former India Test skipper MS Dhoni turns 35 today. He has over the years led India to many memorable wins across formats. Dhoni s leadership qualities have taken India to new heights. India won the inaugural T20 World Cup, the ICC World Cup 2011 and to top it off a Champions Trophy triumph in 2013. India also were ranked No. 1 in Tests under Dhoni s leadership. He, however, shocked everyone when he announced his retirement from Tests after the Melbourne Test against Australia, leaving the reins to Virat Kohli. Dhoni in his 90-Test career has played some gritty and free-flowing innings. Let us take a look at some of his best knocks in the longest format. READ: Happy birthday, Dhoni! IND captain turns 35

224 vs Australia at Chennai, 2013: India were in a bit of trouble when Dhoni came into bat at No. 6 to join Kohli at the crease. Kohli was going well, but needed someone to support him at the other end. He found more than that in Dhoni, who looked at his swashbuckling best. He put on 128 runs with Kohli for the fifth wicket, contributing 72 of them. Dhoni scored his highest First-Class score of 224 off just 265 deliveries to help India to an easy win. This was the beginning of the historic 4-0 whitewash of Australia.

148 vs Pakistan at Faislabad, 2006: Dhoni had played just four Tests before this and had registered just one score in excess of 50. After a blistering 197-run stand for the second wicket between Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, India started losing wickets at regular intervals. In came Dhoni, after the fall of Sachin Tendulkar. The Pakistan fielders at one point doing nothing but picking the ball from the boundary. Dhoni, along with Irfan Pathan, put on a 210-run stand for the sixth wicket, that put India in pole positon to take a first innings lead after Pakistan had scored 588. Dhoni eventually finished his free-flowing innings at 148 off just 153 deliveries, with 19 fours and 4 sixes punctuating his innings. READ: MS Dhoni: Top 10 innings in ODIs

76 not out vs England at Lord s, 2007: With just two years of international experience, Dhoni was picked for the tour of England in 2007. India were set a target of 380 at Lord’s by the hosts. A few in the top-order got off to starts but failed to convert them, which put India in a spot of bother. At 145 for 5, Dhoni made his way to the crease. Laxman was still in the middle and India believed that he would be the one to save the Test for them. The duo put on 86 for the sixth wicket, before Chris Tremlett cleaned Laxman up with a peach. Dhoni, batting on 37 at that point had to bat out 20 more overs with four wickets to spare. He curbed his natural aggressive instincts and played a mature innings to ensure that the match ended in a draw. India would eventually go on to win the three-match series 1-0, following a seven-wicket win at Trent Bridge.

99 vs England at Nagpur, 2012: India were trailing 1-2 in the four-Test series against England, going into this Test. England had made 330 in their first innings. India were in trouble at 71 for 4 when Dhoni arrived at the crease. Kohli and Dhoni put on 198 for the fifth wicket and brought India back into the game. Dhoni batted till the end and in a bid to keep strike for the next over, was run out, one short of a well deserved century. Dhoni s 99 came off 246 deliveries. India declared four short of England s total in a bid to force a result, but England played the rest of the overs to force a draw, and India lost the series. READ: MS Dhoni turns 35: Was 2011-12 the worst phase?

90 vs South Africa at Centurion, 2010: South Africa put up 620 on the board, after bundling India out for just 136 in the first innings. Dhoni made 33. India needed a mammoth 484 to make South Africa bat again. The Indian top-order got off to starts in the second innings, but nobody barring Tendulkar made the best of it. Dhoni came in at No. 8 and added 172 runs with Tendulkar and India looked on course to avoid an innings defeat. Dhoni played his natural game. He did not succumb to the pressure put on them by the South African bowlers, but it was a massive defeat as South Africa won by an innings and 25 runs.

82 vs England at The Oval, 2014: After a draw in the first Test, India went on to win the second Test at Lord s to go 1-0 up in the five-match series. That is as good as things got for India in that series as they went on to lose the next three Tests by big margins, including this one. In a team score of 148, Dhoni played a lone hand and scored 82, but got no support from the other end whatsoever. Other than Dhoni, only Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin got into double figures. India were bowled out for an embarrassing 94 in the second innings, losing the match by an innings and 244 runs. READ: Why Dhoni is the quickest ‘keeper in the modern era

71 vs England at Old Trafford, 2014: Dhoni once again played a lone hand, scoring 71 off 133 deliveries, with 15 fours to his name. India were bowled out for just 152 in their first innings and went on to lose the match by an innings and 54 runs. Dhoni walked out when India were tottering at 4 for 8 in just the sixth over of the match. Ashwin (40) and Dhoni put on 66 for the seventh wicket, that took India over the 100-run mark.

49 vs Sri Lanka at Motera, 2005: Dhoni s contributions for the Indian team may not be high scoring and hard-hitting ones, but there are a few subtle contributions, which often get unnoticed. This was one such innings. India had lost half their side for just 97 in the second session of Day 1. Laxman was going strong at the other end, but needed someone to support him. He found that in Dhoni at No. 7. Dhoni was the sort of partner Laxman needed at that stage and the duo added 86 for the sixth wicket to frustrate the Sri Lankans. This partnership has added some momentum in the Indian innings and thankfully, the tail wagged and India went on to make 398. They eventually won the match by 259 runs and clinched the three-match series 2-0. READ: When Dhoni was asked by Lara to walk off

48 not out vs New Zealand at Bangalore, 2012: India were already 1-0 up following their emphatic win in the first Test at Hyderabad. In the second, New Zealand put on a much better fight and after an exciting three innings, India were set a target of 261 to win. India had all the time in the world to get to their target, but were still 95 away from a win when Dhoni came on to bat. He finished unbeaten on 48 and along with Kohli (51*), guided India to a five-wicket win. We have seen may instances when Dhoni finished the game in limited-overs, but this was one such instance, where he finished the match in a Test.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at Cricketcountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)