Wanted to make up for Chennai failure: Vijay
Murali Vijay made his Test debut in the 2008 Border-Gavaskar Trophy because India’s regular opener, Gautam Gambhir was suspended for a Test on disciplinary grounds. Vijay replaced an injured Gambhir in the 2010 Bangalore Test against Australia and scored his maiden Test ton.
A few low scores later, the opening batsman from Tamil Nadu was out of contention since playing in the West Indies in 2011. Two years later, Vijay got another chance to play Test cricket, as the selectors decided to give rest to an out-of-form Gambhir for the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
At his first big chance to play a full Test series, Vijay stuttered a bit – in the Chennai Test – before coming up with a brilliant knock to bring up his second hundred, in Hyderabad.
The stylish opener stitched an unbeaten 294-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara (162*) and finished day-two of the Test at an individual score of 129 not-out. The 28-year-old was relieved and pleased by his and his partner’s effort, which has given India a lead of 74 with nine wickets in hand.
“It’s always wonderful to get a good start for the team,” Vijay said. “Partnerships like this one don’t happen very often, so we really cherish it. Pujara batted really well and it was good for the team.”
Vijay admitted to feeling the pressure before this game, having got out to loose shots in the first Test. “To be honest, there was pressure on me. I knew that getting out the way I did in both the innings in Chennai was my mistake.
“The last game really hit me hard because I gave my wicket away in the second innings. So, here I just wanted to stay at the crease for as long as possible. I told myself that it doesn’t matter how the wicket or the bowling is. I was determined to give the team a solid start. I’m glad that it happened,” he said.
Vijay and Pujara built their respective innings in classic Test cricket style – by giving the first session to the bowlers and feasting on them for the rest of the day. While India managed only 49 runs in the morning session, the score at stumps was 311 for the loss of Virender Sehwag.
While both batsmen were especially tough on the Australian spinners, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell, Vijay said they were wary of the odd turning ball.
“The wicket was assisting the spinners but the turn was not consistent. As a batsman you cannot take any spinner lightly on this track because you could be surprised by one turning ball. I thought both Pujara and I batted really well and didn’t give them many chances to get us out,” he said.
Vijay was delighted at being to convert his pre-series preparation into a fine performance. “I was really pumped up to play this series and have something to show for all the hard work I’d put in before the series.”