Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni turned 41 on 7 July (Thursday). Widely regarded as one of the greatest captains in the history of the game, Dhoni made his India debut in December 2004, and rose to fame a few months later when he was placed in the batting order during a game against Pakistan. Promoted to number 3, scored 148 runs in just 123 balls. In late October of the same year, Dhoni made another sensational performance at No. 3 – this time against Sri Lanka – scoring an unbeaten 183 in just 145 balls as India chased down a target of 299 in Jaipur with four overs to spare .
Former Sri Lanka cricketer Russell Arnold, who was part of the XI during the game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, recalled Dhoni’s all-round attack against the bowlers. The former India wicket-keeper hit 15 fours and 10 sixes in his innings of 183 runs.
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Arnold said Sri Lanka were confident of going into the break, posting a strong total of 298/4 in 50 overs; However, Dhoni dented the team’s enthusiasm with his explosive approach.
“We are quite comfortable with what we had. We also had the spin twins of Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan and Upul Chandana, and Farveez Mahroof. We were confident of defending the score.
“We did well. We dropped two wickets of Sehwag and Tendulkar long ago. But then, India struck a chord. MS Dhoni got out at No. 3. It told you that India batted with Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Venugopal Rao. even thought they had to do something special,” Arnold recalled during a chat cricket.com.
The former Sri Lankan batsman then told how Dhoni took away the momentum from Sri Lanka with his hitting.
“He came out, and took control quietly. The enthusiasm we had during the break soon vanished. India got 303/4 in the 46th over. The good thing about Dhoni’s innings was that we Didn’t have to do much. Run because he kept hitting the park!
“With that score on the board, we really had our tails up. But it lasted a while because then Dhoni came on the fifth ball of the innings. It was a different ball game from then on,” Arnold said.