New Delhi: Former India coach Greg Chappell believes MS Dhoni's match-winning 224 against Australia in the Chennai Test was the best of his 74-match career. Dhoni's maiden double-century changed the momentum of India's first innings after the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar on a sluggish third morning and helped deliver India a 192-run lead from which they were able to press for a big win.
"He has played several memorable knocks in one-day cricket, but this was the best I have seen him play in Test matches," Chappell told the Times of India. "I have seen him smack a yorker-length delivery from James Anderson for a six. It requires special talent. His success on a crumbling Chennai track stems from his ability to strike the ball hard on pitches where the ball tends to keep low. Had he scored just 124, the match would still have been in the balance. The manner in which he attacked a tiring Australian attack, shielding the tailenders, truly makes him a match-winner."
With the eight-wicket win on Tuesday, Dhoni equaled former India captain Sourav Ganguly's record of most Test victories - 21. Chappell felt that Dhoni's abilities as Test captain should not be questioned, even going as far as to say that India were fortunate to have such a man at the helm. "It is true that the Indian team under Dhoni looked below par during their tour Down Under, but he has answered his critics in the best possible way. In my book he remains the best man to lead India in all forms of the game," he said.
"At a time when players all over the world are struggling to cope with their workload, it is amazing how Dhoni manages to play every game with the same intensity. That he has done it successfully now for five years speaks volumes about Dhoni's fitness, mental strength as well as his commitment. India are lucky to have him."
India lead the four-Test series 1-0 with the second match starting in Hyderabad from March 2. Australia are current holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy following their 4-0 success at home last season.