Hyderabad, Mar 3: Indian opener Murali Vijay and one-drop batsman Cheteshwar Pujara scored contrasting centuries on day two of the ongoing Hyderabad India-Australia Test, unmindful of the 35 Centigrade afternoon heat to take the hosts to a commanding 311 for the loss of one wicket in reply to Australia’s 237 for nine declared.
Both remained unbeaten at the end of the day’s play, sharing a 294-run partnership in the largely roofless Uppal Stadium, bringing the 28,000-strong Sunday crowd to their feet and breaking into Mexican waves at frequent intervals.
The Indians started the day of slowly, but post lunch, saw Pujara and Vijay sending the Australians on a leather hunt which they would like to forget sonner than later.
India lost the wicket of opener Virender Sehwag early in the morning session for his individual score of six. The hosts scored only 49 runs in the morning to go to lunch at 55 for 1. Pujara and Vijay then became more expansive to pick off 106 runs in the second session, before going berserk post-tea to pile on 151 runs against a wilting Australia.
Neither of Australia’s two spinners Glenn Maxwell and Xavier Doherty could make any inroads in the
Indian batting line-up, and were not a patch on the Indian spinning triumvirate of R.Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja, who claimed seven of the ten Australian wickets.
Both Pujara and Vijay were sure-footed against the spinners, skipping down the track to crash the ball through covers or whip to the leg side. They didn’t allow the spinners to settle either – when Doherty returned to bowl after lunch, his second delivery was powered over mid-off for six by Vijay.
After twin failures in Chennai, Vijay needed a big innings to push his case for remaining in the Indian Test squad.
Now, with this century, Vijay could become India’s first-choice opener because the selectors’ patience with Virender Sehwag will be running low after he nicked Peter Siddle to fall for 6 – he now has only one 50-plus score in 13 innings.
With the partnership growing, Australia looked short of wicket-taking options. James Pattinson and Siddle were unwavering in the morning but had little joy with the old ball, and Moises Henriques acquitted himself well as a back-up seamer though not as one who could pick up a clutch of wickets. (ANI)