Dhoni does it all by himself
MS Dhoni is fascinating. He makes light of the pressure he is obviously under as captain of India. He hardly does any practice before the match and takes barely a cursory glance at the pitch. But he confidently asked England to bat as soon as he won the toss on a decent looking track and, after England’s purposeful start, brought the spinners on early. Then he took the first four wickets himself.
First he caught Alex Hales’s top-edged sweep, then neatly stumped Alastair Cook down the leg side. The stumping of Joe Root was exceptionally smart.
Ravi Jadeja produced a sharp spinner which drew Root fractionally out of his crease. Dhoni had the bails off in a flash and celebrated immediately. As the third umpire looking at the replays, your heart beats fast in these situations hoping the various camera angles will get you the right answer. Luckily they did. After a brief reconstruction, Eoin Morgan became Dhoni’s fourth victim caught behind to a sharp off-break from Ravi Ashwin.
England’s cricket was hapless. Ian Bell ran wide on a second run and was beaten by a direct hit, Ben Stokes seemed surprised by a ball which spun away and edged to slip. Having played well for 42, Jos Buttler charged up the wicket, slogged and missed. Dhoni was in calm control throughout. The Indian batsmen made mincemeat of the target. You can almost feel the wind off their bats as they scythe the ball to the boundary. Umpires might need protective helmets themselves soon.
Decision of the day
The stumping of Joe Root which went upstairs to Rob Bailey. After a few slo-mos it was evident Root’s toe was on the line and he had to go. It will be good when the third umpire has full control of this process rather than relying on the TV director.