MS Dhoni, free from his Vijay Hazare duties for Jharkhand, attended the final day of the third Test between India and Australia in Ranchi on Monday.
India had staged a sensational comeback on the penultimate day, thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara’s third double hundred and Wriddhiman Saha’s third hundred. The duo added 199 runs for the seventh wicket before Ravindra Jadeja’s quickfire half-century allowed the hosts to declare with a 152-run lead.
Jadeja then struck twice with the ball to remove David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon to leave Australia gasping. The left-arm spinner was in business again on the final morning when he snuffed out the key wicket of Steve Smith soon after Ishant Sharma had removed Matt Renshaw.
Dhoni had retired from Test cricket 2014, handing over the reins to Virat Kohli, who has since had a record-breaking run as captain and batsman.
Dhoni, who was born and brought up in Ranchi, remains an immensely popular cricketer in the limited-overs formats. He reliniquished captaincy in the shorter formats in January and has since been in sensational form. He blasted his first ODI hundred since 2013 in the series against England before hammering his maiden T20 International fifty.
Anil Kumble, the India coach, had hoped Dhoni would come to watch India play Australia in his backyard. The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman turned up on a day when India were fighting hard to secure victory.
Earlier in the day, Smith and Renshaw, resuming on 23 for two and needing 129 more runs just to make India bat again, frustrated the hosts for about 21 overs before falling in quick succession.
Left-arm spinner Jadeja relentlessly attacked the rough outside Renshaw’s off-stump, while Ishant Sharma bowled to Smith with a seven-two off-side field.
Pumped up after an altercation with Renshaw, Sharma earned the breakthrough for India when he trapped the opener leg-before for 15 with a fuller delivery.
A bigger blow awaited Australia in the next over when Jadeja, who already has eight wickets in the match to go with an unbeaten fifty with the bat, spun one past Smith’s advancing pad and uprooted the off-stump.
However, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscombe frustrated India with a stubborn stand and ensured Australia did not lose any wickets in the second session.MS Dhoni cheers Virat Kohli’s India in Ranchi Test vs Australia.
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