Dhoni relieved to end century drought

Having been dismissed in the nineties five times before, India skipper Dhoni relieved to finally score fifth century as his Test tons are now on par with his nervous 90s

The few fans in attendance at Eden Gardens yesterday, got a double treat from India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Besides his responsible 144-run knock, the spectators got a glimpse of Dhoni's football skills too. They saw how ruthless he could be on the field, be it cricket or football.

India skipper MS Dhoni during his 188-ball 144 in Kolkata yesterday.

In the afternoon, when bad light halted play on Day Two of the second Test between India and West Indies at Eden here, the India skipper and his teammates divided themselves in two groups and engaged in a game of football across the lush green turf. And Dhoni was as influential with the bigger ball as he was with the cherry a few minutes earlier. Not only did he display some fine football skills, he also ended up scoring three goals for his team in the bargain. Meanwhile, Day Two of the Test had to be called off approximately an hour before the scheduled close, following a series of inspections, due to poor light.

At close, West Indies were 34-2 in reply to India's 631-7 declared. VVS Laxman remained unbeaten on 176.
Despite being on a high after scoring his fifth Test century at the iconic venue earlier in the day, Dhoni looked relaxed. "I am really happy. Before this century, I have been dismissed as many as five times in the nineties in Test cricket. This fifth ton would have come much earlier," Dhoni told MiD DAY in between bites of a chocolate bar yesterday.

The India skipper was delighted with the fact that he now has five centuries and five nineties against his name in the longer version. "Now, I can say I have five centuries and five nineties against my name in Tests... the centuries and nineties are now on par," he said.

Ironically, Dhoni, who now has 202 Test victims to his name (highest by an Indian wicketkeeper), however, was stumped when asked to pick a few dismissals that he felt were most satisfying. "Seriously, I don't remember any of them � even if you ask me about my best five catches or stumpings, I won't be able to tell you... sorry I can't recollect them," he said even as he tried to rack his brains. 

Besides his feat, Dhoni had a lot of praise for VVS Laxman, who scored his fifth ton at Eden yesterday. "Brilliant innings. The way he batted all through was really superb," he said. The stylish Hyderabadi duly returned the praise to India's second World Cup-winning captain. "Everytime Dhoni hit a six today he came over to me and said 'I could not connect the ball properly'," Laxman said with a smile. Dhoni hit five sixes and 10 fours for his 188-ball 144 -- his second highest Test score.

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