Today In 2005, MS Dhoni Unleashed Carnage To Bleed Sri Lanka Dry In Jaipur
When India and Sri Lanka faced off in Jaipur for the 3rd ODI on October 31, 2005, the pressure was on the visitors, and with good reason. They had been obliterated in the first two games and were 2-0 down in the 7-match series. Sadly, things were about to get worse for the men from the Emerald Island.
Things started well enough. Kumar Sangakkara led the way with an unbeaten 138 as the tourists finished with 298/4. Remember this was 2005 and chasing 299 was still taking some getting though it was happening with more consistency.
Nonetheless, Sri Lanka looked in control when Sachin Tendulkar fell cheaply. Then surprise surprise, who should walk in at No. 3 but the new sensation, MS Dhoni. Still in his first year of ODI cricket and yet to play a Test or T20I, Dhoni was a novice who played like a veteran. Memories of his epic 148 vs Pakistan earlier in the year were still fresh in the minds of fans. Little did they know that what followed would make that knock look pale in comparison.
By the time the match ended, relief would have been the first thing on Sri Lanka's mind. Forget the fact that they had been beaten badly, they were just glad it was over. Dhoni just did not allow the bowlers to settle and setting a field seemed useless because he either found the gaps or cleared the ground.
India amassed 303/4 and the man who would come to be known as Captain Cool scored yet another explosive hundred. 183 unbeaten runs flowed from his bat and he consumed a mere 145 balls. 15 fours and 10 sixes meant that 130 runs came in boundaries out of his score. The fact that we won with a bunch of overs to spare shows how quickly the runs came. The Lankans were bled dry in Jaipur and the likes of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan were made to look ordinary.
Mind you, this was even before Dhoni came to be known as the world's best finisher. But the spark was lit and the fire would rage for over a decade. The glories as Team India captain were yet to come, winning the World T20, World Cup, Champions Trophy and the No. 1 spot in Tests were still some distance away. But the events were set in motion and even now 14 years later we look back fondly on it. No doubt Sri Lanka look back on it too, though they would not be having happy memories of it.