Proactive MS Dhoni could reap richer rewards

Southampton: India seldom win Test matches outside the sub-continent and when they do, they are usually resounding victories after been trounced in the initial Test matches in the series. On this occasion, the shoe is on the other foot. India hold the lead.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni 

It may be only 1-0, but under MS Dhoni, India have only found themselves in this situation on two occasions, one in New Zealand in 2009 and the other in 2011 in the West Indies. India had gone on to win both of those series.

No scars of defeats
However, it is worth noting that the team's performance had dipped in Test matches that followed. Driving home the advantage is something Dhoni has struggled with in the past. But with a new generation of players, he has a team that holds no scars of defeats and that itself could be a huge advantage.

Dhoni's captaincy in the series has been more innovative and proactive. He has been willing to experiment with bowling changes, bowling plans, team composition and various tactics right from the start and it has given him the cushion of a series lead.

Now, he finds himself in diverse territory. Will he still persist with his proactive captaincy or would he look to protect the lead? From early indications at Southampton, it seems clear that Stuart Binny will make way for Rohit Sharma. It seems to suggest that now that the fifth bowler gamble has paid off, India are thinking about dominating with the ball and piling on the runs.

Not short of ideas
Throughout the first Two Tests, Dhoni has never been short of ideas. He was almost desperate to grab a lead, almost suggesting that he feels at ease knowing his team is ahead and his tactics are no longer an act of desperation. It will be interesting to see which cap Dhoni's wears in a situation that he hasn't experienced for a while.

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