MS Dhoni hit his 70th fifty overall as India stayed in the hunt for a series win in Australia. (Image credit: BCCI Twitter)
MS Dhoni continued his magnificent run of form by slamming his third consecutive fifty in the series against Australia as India stayed on course to achieve a historic series win Down Under. His 70th fifty overall followed the traditional blueprint of taking his time to settle in and then guiding the side in the middle overs. The former Indian cricket team skipper, who was criticised for his slow knock of 51 in Sydney and for his wonderful finishing prowess in Adelaide with an unbeaten 55, came into bat after Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed. However, he survived first ball as he was dropped by Glenn Maxwell at point and this proved to be costly for Australia.
Dhoni, along with skipper Virat Kohli, steadied the ship and India made smooth progress on an MCG wicket which was becoming difficult for stroke making. Both batsmen pierced the gaps brilliantly and ran the twos and threes hard. Kohli and Dhoni both survived a run-out attempt but they held their nerve. The former India skipper blasted two boundaries off Marcus Stoinis and Peter Siddle while Kohli neared a fifty. However, on 46, Kohli edged a full ball to Alex Carey off Jhye Richardson, falling to the bowler for the third time in the series.
The right-hander from Ranchi was then given good support by Kedar Jadhav and Dhoni notched up his third consecutive fifty in the series. This is the fifth time Dhoni has scored three or more ODI 50s in succession, having last achieved the feat against New Zealand in January 2014. His fifty took his tally of runs past 1500 in ODIs against Australia, the second-most number of runs that he has against a single nation after Sri Lanka, against whom he has scored over 2300 runs.
Dhoni also joined Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in scoring over 1000 runs in ODIs in Australia. His contributions have given India a great chance to win a bilateral ODI series Down Under. If India win in Melbourne, they will become only the second team after South Africa to win a series in all formats Down Under.