Rajkot Test: M Vijay belts out another hit
Opener thrives on Rajkot’s batting beauty and feasts on England’s bowling attack to kick off vital series with a ton
Murali Vijay punches one on the third day of the first Test in Rajkot yesterday. Pic/PTI
When Cheteshwar Pujara joined Murali Vijay at 68-1, India were not in a very happy state. Facing a disciplined English attack they not only needed to score runs but also hold firm. But the cracks on the wicket were slowly coming into play. Unlike the first two days when approximately 300 runs were scored each day, India managed to score 256 runs losing four wickets. Vijay and Pujara added 209 for the second wicket.
Complimenting each other
It was wonderful to watch the way they complimented each other. When Pujara was aggressive, Vijay slowed down and vice versa. Vijay was on 25 when Pujara joined him in the middle but when Pujara got his 100, Vijay was on 81.
Once Pujara got his hundred Vijay shifted gears. First, he lofted off-spinner Moeen Ali over long-off to get into the 90s. He then crossed the three-figure mark with two consecutive boundaries off Stuart Broad on either side of the wicket — first a flick of the wrists to one on the pads to the mid-wicket fence and then a dab to a wide one outside off-stump to the third-man boundary.
Vijay hit eight fours and three huge sixes to reach his hundred. This was Vijay’s first hundred since his 150 against Bangladesh in Fatullah in June 2015 and seventh overall in Tests. This is also his fourth ton on Indian soil and second versus England.
Vijay may have faced 255 balls to get to his century but he was playing second fiddle at one stage when Pujara was building his innings. Talking about their partnership Pujara said that “communication” played a huge role in their success. “I think it is the communication between us which helps us click. We know each other’s strength; we know what the opposition is trying to do and we keep communicating. I think that is the most important aspect of not only Vijay and my partnership but of this batting unit as a whole,” said Pujara.
“Both of us have been playing Test cricket for India for a long time. We also spend a lot of time together, not only on the field but off it too. Vijay and I are the only ones who play only this format, so we end up talking a lot about our game.
“We also understand that sometimes it is difficult for a player, who is playing only one format to get quality match practice. So, our experience in domestic matches, after the New Zealand series, that both Vijay and I played, and also our training at the National Cricket Academy before this series helped us here,” added Pujara.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Hardik Pandya thanks Nita Ambani for visiting him in London