“MS Dhoni at no.3 was a surprise, didn’t know much about him,” Russell Arnold recalls Dhoni’s brutal 183*

MS Dhoni holds the record for the highest individual ODI score by a wicketkeeper.

MS Dhoni bludgeoned 183* against Sri Lanka in Jaipur as India chased down 299 | Getty

MS Dhoni had already established himself as a force to be reckoned with in ODI cricket after slamming a brutal 148 against Pakistan in an ODI at home in 2005. Therefore all eyes were on him when Sri Lanka came to India for a full series later that year.

The two teams met in the 3rd ODI of the series at Jaipur and thanks to Kumar Sangakkara’s brilliant 138* and 71 from Mahela Jayawardene took Sri Lanka to 298/4 in 50 overs. Chaminda Vaas then gave the islanders the perfect start by removing Tendulkar for 2 runs and they expected Sourav Ganguly to come out next.

But in a move of absolute brilliance, Ganguly promoted newbie MS Dhoni to no.3 position, and rest was history, as he slammed a merciless 183* in 145 balls with 10 sixes and 15 fours. With contributions from Sehwag, Yuvraj, and Dravid, he almost single-handedly took India to victory with almost four overs to spare.

Talking about MS Dhoni, Sri Lanka’s Russell Arnold, who was part of that match mentioned to R Ashwin during an Instagram Live chat, that the Lankans had very little idea about this new long-haired wicketkeeper-batsman.

"Dekh beta tere senior hai hum," when MS Dhoni scolded Mohammad Shami for going off the plan

"I didn't know MS Dhoni much before this series. I think this must have been his 3rd or 4th series. MS Dhoni, down the order, big hitter... that's what we know. But in this series, we came to know about his exceptional skills, his mentality, and the potential danger he could cause... not just to us but to everyone," Arnold said.

"I think he had batted at No. 3 against Pakistan before. He had scored 148 against Pakistan. We knew he had the ability. But some players tend to perform just one day and vanish. When you repeat, people take notice of the players. He had long hair and was a well-built man,” he said.

Arnold admitted that the Sri Lankans were surprised that Dhoni came out to bat at no.3.

"MS Dhoni came at No.3. That was a surprise. India was chasing a big score. We thought MS Dhoni had to score something like he scored against Pakistan to chase this down. India had lost Sachin Tendulkar early as well. When Dhoni came in at No. 3, all our plans went out of place a little. But we still wanted to pick up wickets. We tried but we found it tough to control Dhoni's power,” Arnold signed off.


By Jatin Sharma - 12 May, 2020

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