In all the years that I have been associated with cricket I have never before heard the kind of ovation that Mahendra Singh Dhoni got when he strode out to bat in the third One-dayer in Ranchi. Not even when Sachin Tendulkar walks out to bat not even when India won the World Cup at the Wankhede stadium has there been the kind of reception and ovation to a player that Ranchi gave its adored son. It was heady, jaw dropping and intensely emotional and 'Mahi' did not disappoint by hooking a boundary that sealed the win that India's underrated bowlers had set up.
Every city and centre has its favourite players and they are given a tremendous reception when they enter the field of play. Tendulkar gets a massive one every where he plays in India or overseas but there are always a few at the ground who are not big fans or admirers of the player but in Ranchi everybody, just everybody apart from the England supporters of course got up and roared when Dhoni walked out to bat.
They were not even sure if they would get to see him for it is Suresh Raina who usually comes out to bat at No. 5 but when they saw who it was who was descending the steps to the ground the Ranchites simply gave vent to their emotions. They were very impressive too in the discipline they showed while waiting to get into the ground. It was a long, long line and Ranchi showed that the Indians can also follow the queue.
India has struggled with its new ball bowlers throughout the summer but maybe just maybe they have found a good pair in Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed. They bowled quite superbly moving the ball just enough and getting it to bounce a bit too. Ishant also came back well after his first over and they not only choked up the runs but also got the wickets. It was an impressive performance and since its early days hopefully they won't be deluged too much with advice about this and that, and allowed to progress naturally and make mistakes and see if they learn from those.
Jadeja and Ashwin then bowled tightly and when there is a hint of turn then Jadeja with his flatter trajectory is difficult to advance down the pitch and attacked. The Englishmen have played far too much from the crease which has made the spinners' job even easier.
It was good to see Kohli striking form and more importantly staying till the end. Gambhir did the hard work and threw it away but at least he stayed there for a long time as did Yuvraj. India have the psychological advantage and they need to ram it home with a win that will seal the series and give the selectors the chance to try some of the reserves in the final game.