Nagpur Test: Here's how comeback man Murali Vijay won day for India

Updated: Nov 26, 2017, 11:05 IST | Ankur Dhawan

If Sri Lanka's spirit was still in tact after a macabre day with the bat on Friday, it would surely have broken after Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara put together a 209-run stand on Day Two here at the VCA stadium in Nagpur

If Sri Lanka's spirit was still in tact after a macabre day with the bat on Friday, it would surely have broken after Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara put together a 209-run stand on Day Two here at the VCA stadium in Nagpur. The duo were unseparated till 45 minutes post Tea, with Vijay notching his 10th Test hundred on return from injury and Pujara registering his 14th. This was their fourth consecutive century stand, and 10th overall.

India's Murali Vijay celebrates his century on Day Two of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Nagpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP
India's Murali Vijay celebrates his century on Day Two of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Nagpur on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Similar mindset
"Pujara also has similar mindset as he likes to dig in deep and scrap it out in a situation with varied demands and it's like a good tempo between him and me working on, so hopefully, we can continue and do it for India more number of times," said Vijay about the pair's incorrigible knack for century stands. Consequently, India went to stumps 107 ahead of Sri Lanka with eight wickets in hand, and in a position of utter dominance. The writing was on the wall from the outset as Vijay struck the first ball of the day for four. But Sri Lanka had their chances, particularly early in the day. Vijay was reprieved twice off the same ball on 19 — a dropped chance at short leg that could have also been a run out, had Sadeera Samarawickrama's back-handed flick hit the stumps. Later, he was put down by Dilruwan Perera at short mid-on, batting on 61.

The first chance created was a result of tight bowling in the first hour of play. During that period, Sri Lanka applied the kind of pressure that had worked successfully for India against the visiting batsmen on Day One, except unlike India, they were unable to sustain it much longer. After conceding just 32 runs in the first 16 overs, Sri Lanka leaked 54 in the next fifteen. While most of the bowlers bowled to their fields, Perera failed to exert the same pressure, and the Indians capitalised. The off-spinner was taken for 117 in his 21 overs. While Vijay chanced his arm every now and then, Pujara stuck to his guns, maintaining a similar tempo for most of his unbeaten 121. Vijay finally fell victim to his own intrepidity, as he top-edged a full toss from Rangana Herath to short fine-leg, who was moved there just the ball before, precisely to coax Vijay into sweeping from outside his leg-stump.

Speedy Kohli
However, the arrival of Virat Kohli signalled a further increase in the rate of scoring as India enjoyed their most productive session of the day, against a tired Sri Lankan attack. Kohli struck an unbeaten 54 off just 70 balls, as India closed a satisfying day in style, with 127 runs coming in the last session.

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