Nagpur: On the long road overseas, Murali Vijay had been India’s premier batsman at the top, providing much needed stability in alien conditions. Back home, he continues to stand out. On a tricky wicket in the first Test against South Africa at Mohali, Vijay was by far the most comfortable batsman, notching 75 and 47. “My aim is to keep improving (with) every session and add value to the team,” he said ahead of the third Test at Nagpur.
Shikhar Dhawan & Murali Vijay share a light moment during a practice session in Nagpur yesterday. PIC/PTI
Vijay continues to be optimistic about India’s batting despite its struggle in the first Test. “I don’t know (if) the batting is a worry for us because everybody is one match away from a big knock and this match may be the one,” he said.
Vijay’s opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan bagged a pair at Mohali before managing a solid start on Day One at Bangalore. “We are working as a pack. So obviously our goal is to the win the game and put the team in a better position (when) we go in to bat,” Vijay said about the batting unit.
Virat Kohli with Ravi Shastri in Nagpur yesterday. PIC/AFP
The Vijay-Pujara firm
Apart from Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara was the other batsman who looked comfortable at Mohali. In fact, the Vijay-Pujara pair has inspired confidence for nearly three years. Since January 2013, the duo has been India’s most successful pair in Test cricket with 1486 runs in 25 innings at an average of 59.44 with three century stands. “It is very important to know what your partner is up to,” Vijay explained. Ahead of the second Test, skipper Virat Kohli lauded their application and urged his teammates to learn from them. If Nagpur presents Mohali-like challenges, India’s batting unit would have to emulate their most successful pair in recent times.