Not reading sports pages helped Dhoni

Sachin Tendulkar smashed two sixes off successive deliveries to hasten India’s eight-wicket victory in the first Test against Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here yesterday.

India have gone one up in the four-Test series.

India skipper MS Dhoni during the prize distribution ceremony in Chennai yesterday

After removing the last Australian wicket for the addition of only nine runs to their overnight score of 232, India were left to score 50 for a win. They reached the target after losing openers Murali Vijay and Virender Sehwag cheaply for the second time in the match.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was adjudged the man of the match for his brilliant 224 that helped India put up a mammoth 572 in the first innings in reply to Australia’s 380.

Debutant Moises Henriques was left 19 short of a well-deserved hundred when last man Nathan Lyon was caught bat-pad off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who finished with three for 72.

Ravichandran Ashwin bagged five for 95 to follow up his seven-wicket haul in Australia’s first innings.

According to Dhoni, not giving importance to all the criticism that came his way helped him concentrate on his performance. “What really matters is the job I’m trying to do. The best thing I’ve done so far is to not watch news or read newspapers, so that has really helped, frankly,” Dhoni said after the match.

“It’s not that I do not read newspapers, it’s just that the third page from the back is always the sports page, so you try to get rid of that. Otherwise you don’t get to know what’s happening in India,” said Dhoni.

Dhoni credited his teammates for setting the stage for him after a 93-run partnership from Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara and another 91 between Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. “It was important to play some shots,” he said. “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. The first (significant) partnership was important. Sachin and Pujara batted for a period of time.

“Those partnerships were crucial. Ashwin bowled brilliantly. In the second innings, he was well supported by Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh). Ashwin struck with his off-spinners, which was good. He was willing to bowl in one area, and that’s a big positive.

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

“I never dreamt I would get a double in Tests. I had never even dreamt of playing for the country. Let’s just keep it simple,” he added.

The second of four Tests begins in Hyderabad on Saturday. 

Brief Scores
Australia: 380 & 241 (M Henriques 81 not out, Ed Cowan 32; R Ashwin 5-95) lost to India: 572 & 50-2 (V Sehwag 19, S Tendulkar 13 not out; J Pattinson
1-13) by eight wickets 

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