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Why was Dhoni chasing a draw?

Last updated on: March 18, 2013 20:50 IST

Why was Dhoni chasing a draw?

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Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni surprised everyone when he admitted that India was contemplating playing it safe and batting for a draw rather than going for victory after losing quick wickets in the run-chase.

In the end, India sneaked to victory with just 15 deliveries remaining in the third Test against Australia, in Mohali, on Monday.

The six-wicket margin, which gave the hosts a 3-0 lead in the series, appears rather comfortable, but it was not so.

During the run chase on the fifth day, there were times when it looked as if India were having problems mustering up the runs and would end up with a draw.

It was surprising that the team left it quite late, with 22 runs needed from the last four overs, to make the charge.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: BCCI
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Tendulkar's run out made matters more complicated

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Sachin Tendulkar's run out for 21 made matters more complicated, as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni struggled to get bat to ball as he laboured his way to six from 25 balls.

But Ravindra Jadeja smashed two boundaries off Peter Siddle to ease some pressure before Dhoni finally woke up from his slumber and hit Mitchell Starc for three boundaries in a row to take India to victory.

Dhoni surprised everyone later when he admitted that India were contemplating playing it safe and batting for a draw rather than going for victory.

"It got close, if you see. I don't gamble, but the stakes were high, in the sense that we had everything to lose and, literally, we had nothing to gain.

"What we were gaining was satisfaction that we are winning one more Test match, but Australia, if they had won, it would give them a chance to comeback into the series," he confessed.


Image: David Warner of Australia runs out Sachin Tendulkar of India
Photographs: BCCI
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'We were one batsman less'

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Between the 27th and 29th over of the innings, India scored just three runs in three overs while losing the wicket of Virat Kohli.

Dhoni struggled with the bat early on, as the pressure somewhat increased as the Australians resorted to some disciplined bowling.

He reasoned that since the team was a batsman less, with Shikhar Dhawan injured and the lower order not in great form, they were skeptical about going on the attack early.

"The fact was, we were one batsman less, because Shikhar Dhawan was injured and it was very unlikely he would have come into bat. Also, the fact that from 7 to 11 we had not exactly scored a lot of runs. All these things play at the back of your head. It is important that batsmen who are set take you through the last 3-4 overs.

"Even if we need six runs per over for the last three-four overs, you can try to explode and if you lose a few wickets it doesn't really matter, but that was not the case. We lost Vijay when there was a sound partnership and kept losing wickets at regular intervals, so it got close with one batsman less The lower order is not really performing well we were under a bit of pressure," he said.

However, in the end, India smashed five boundaries in six deliveries to clinch victory and set themselves up perfectly for a revenge 4-0 whitewash against the men from Down Under.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja celebrate the win
Photographs: BCCI
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