Australia are still searching for an answer to how they can unsettle one of the world’s most unflappable batsmen, MS Dhoni.
Dhoni’s overall batting average from a staggering 339 ODIs is a healthy 51, but his recent record against Australia is nothing short of remarkable.
The 37-year-old’s average from his past four one-dayers against Australia is 252.
Dhoni posted unbeaten half-centuries at Adelaide Oval and the MCG in January then yet again in Saturday’s series opener in Hyderabad, steering India to victory on all three occasions.
The wicketkeeper has produced trademark composure in all three chases, starting off slowly then building a match-winning innings.
Dhoni rescued India from 4-99 in Hyderabad, marching them to victory at 4-240.
“He’s just stayed calm and backed himself to take it deep,” Australian batsman Usman Khawaja said “Then when he needs to, he hits a boundary, you can tell he sort of changes gears.
“It doesn’t always come off but the majority of times it does. He does that really well, that’s experience.
“We knew we had to get him out (in the first ODI) … we’ll try to rectify that in the next game. He’s obviously a key batsman for them.”
Dhoni is yet to reveal retirement plans but the widespread expectation is he will bow out after this year’s World Cup, meaning this could be his final ODI series at home.
Dhoni’s output is impressive but what is harder to express in numbers is the effect the veteran has on teammates at the non-striker’s end.
It was on display in Hyderabad, where Kedar Jadhav credited the immense influence of Dhoni after his match-winning knock.
“Every time I bat with him and I spend time with him, I learn a lot,” Jadhav said.
“Every time I see him, I feel very confident … he has the knack of getting the best out of every player and that’s what everybody loves about him.
“Every youngster in this team doing well, credit goes to MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli … both of them are world-class players, we are lucky to have them.”
The five-match series continues in Nagpur at 7pm AEDT on Tuesday.