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Melbourne Test between India & Australia Ends in Draw; Skipper Dhoni Retires from Test Cricket

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Melbourne Test between India & Australia Ends in Draw; Skipper Dhoni Retires from Test Cricket

December 31
13:00 2014

New Delhi, Wednesday, December 31 – 3rd Test match between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground ended in a draw. It was the contest that was supposed to be remembered for the youngsters making efforts to affix their position in the team but everything came to an end on Tuesday on a shocking note as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to retire from Test cricket. He has grabbed eyeballs on more than a few occasions for taking weird decisions like asking Joginder Sharma to bowl final over in the grand finale of inaugural T20 match against Pakistan despite the fact that the bowler wasn’t getting wickets. But Sharma proved his captain’s confidence right and got himself registered in the cricket history.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane came on the 22 yards pitch to stabilize wobbly Indian innings on Tuesday at a time Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and the debutant Lokesh Rahul were back to the pavilion at the scores of 11, 0 and 1, respectively. Vijay’s dismissal was unfortunate as he fell short to a wrong decision by umpire Kumar Dharmsena who gave him LBW even though ball was going outside but at the same time it is impossible to close the eyes to poor show by the latter two.

A partnership between Kohli and Rahane as like the 1st innings made the opponents feel the heat. Classy shots by the confident players gave clear signal to the Aussies that they aren’t going to surrender without a fight. The target of 384 was not at all easy for India to chase in a Day and things could have been similar had there been any other team. Records show that anytime when a squad had put on 300 runs on the scoreboard and declared innings, it was next to impossible for the opponents to chase the total especially in 70 to 80 overs. A big question has been raised over decision by stand-in skipper Steve Smith that why he was too late to come to a conclusion when more than 350 runs were attained. Outcome could have been in favor of the host had he opted for declaring the Australian innings a bit earlier.

When Rahane was dismissed on 48 runs, it was somehow predicted that Smith’s men will now leave no stone unturned to build pressure on the upcoming batsmen. And the same happened when Cheteshwar Pujara once again failed to put his best foot forward. Though he pocketed 21 runs but that wasn’t adequate to take India away from the danger of defeat. Kohli’s striking 54-run knock shrugged off pressure to some extent. Dhoni held the fort from other end and kept up accumulating runs but soon a jolt was felt when the Delhi born player was caught by Joe Burns as Ryan Harris intelligently bowled his spell. Ravichandran Ashwin came to lend a hand to Dhoni with the motto not to let any wicket fall further. The duo got success in that as Shane Watson, Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Harris failed to collapse batting order when only few overs were remaining to be bowled. Post having a short discussion, both the teams agreed to finish the game as a draw.

Kohli & Rahane surely won hearts but Dhoni was someone who stunned the cricket fraternity by saying goodbye to Test matches. He will be remembered as one of the most successful Indian captains who imparted terrific role in India’s success in crucial tournaments. Kohli will now lead the ‘playing XI’ in Sydney.  A whole new era of cricket will show its first glimpse in the New Year. Comparisons will surely be made as 26-year-old Kohli has temperament issues, while on the other hand, Dhoni has always dealt with problems by keeping the calm. Definitely, his immediate retirement has surprised the Indian cricket fans to a great extent, however, the news related to his appearance in T20 and One-Day international matches is comforting.

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