Brisbane: Murali Vijay made Australia's bowlers toil in the brutal Brisbane heat with a defiant century as India frolicked in the second Test at the Gabba on Wednesday.
Vijay profited from two dropped catches by Shaun Marsh to raise his fourth Test century against Australia and the first in this country to put the tourists in a commanding position after the opening day.
Murali Vijay acknowledges the dressing room after his century. Pic/ PTI
The Chennai right-hander, cruelly out for 99 in the Adelaide series opener, made it look easy on a Gabba pitch where the Australians have not been conquered in 26 years. Vijay was out late in the day, caught behind off spinner Nathan Lyon for 144, equalling Sourav Ganguly's 2003 knock as the highest score by an Indian at the Gabba.
Vijay batted for 332 minutes and faced 213 balls with 22 fours and put on 124 runs with Ajinkya Rahane for the fourth wicket. At the close, India were 311 for four with Rahane unbeaten on 75 and Rohit Sharma not out 26.
The century continued Vijay's impressive start to the four-match series with scores of 53 and 99 in India's 48-run defeat in the first Test. He was helped along the way by two chances put down by Shaun Marsh on 36 and 102, both off Mitchell Johnson's bowling and a tiring Australian bowling attack on a sweltering day.
It was a sorry day in the field for the Australians with both new pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc having problems with the heat and a third bowler Mitchell Marsh off the field with hamstring trouble.
- Tough day for Smith -
Vijay's dominance came after India had their third bad umpire's call in the series with the dubious dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara appeared to be caught off the grille of his helmet 40 minutes after lunch and was sent on his way by English umpire Ian Gould for 18. Pujara attempted to sway out of the way of a Hazlewood bouncer and his gloves went up to shield his face only to come off the grille to Brad Haddin.
Pujara stood at the wicket before leaving shaking his head at the umpire's decision which followed dubious calls suffered by Shikhar Dhawan and Rahane in the first Test. India appear to be paying for their refusal to use the decision referral system in Test cricket over accuracy fears.
Paceman Hazlewood, playing in his debut Test, grabbed the key wicket of Virat Kohli for 19 in the 45th over, giving Brad Haddin his third catch of the innings. Kohli, who was outstanding in Adelaide with a century in each innings, attempted to cut but was beaten by the extra bounce and edged to the keeper.
It was a tough first day for new skipper Steve Smith as his bowlers failed to press on after having the tourists at 137 for three halfway through the day. Smith's situation was not helped by Mitchell Marsh's hamstring injury just after lunch.
Dhawan's was the only wicket in the morning session and it was all-rounder Marsh who made the breakthrough. Marsh claimed his first Test victim when Dhawan slashed away from his body and top-edged to Haddin for 24. Marsh pulled in pain up after bowling his sixth over and left the field.
India have not won in five Tests at the Gabba, where the Australians have not lost since a nine-wicket defeat to the Viv Richards-led West Indies in 1988.
India 1st innings:
Murali Vijay c Haddin b N Lyon 144
Shikhar Dhawan c Haddin b M Marsh 24
Cheteshwar Pujara c Haddin b Hazlewood 18
Virat Kohli c Haddin b Hazlewood 19
Ajinkya Rahane batting 75
Rohit Sharma batting 26
Extras (B-4, NB-1) 5
Total (For 4 wickets in 83 overs) 311
Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-100, 3-137, 4-261.
Bowling: M Johnson 15-2-64-0, J Hazlewood 15.2-5-44-2, M Starc 14-1-56-0, M Marsh 6-1-14-1, N Lyon 20-1-87-1, S Watson 10.4-5-29, D Warner 1-0-9-0, S Smith 1-0-4-0.