Impressive Vijay prepared to wait

Impressive Vijay prepared to wait

Impressive Vijay prepared to wait

Murali Vijay returns after a sparkling 87. AFPIn his first Test for more than 12 months, the 25-year-old opener stepped in to admirably fill the breach created by Gautam Gambhir’s self-enforced absence, associating himself in a 221-run stand with Virender Sehwag as India replied strongly to Sri Lanka’s 393 on the second day of the final Test.

The Tamil Nadu right-hander looked the part during his three-hour stint, matching his illustrious opening partner stroke for stroke before his first false shot, an attempted sweep off Rangana Herath, brought about his downfall for 87.

“It was a bad shot to play in that situation,” Vijay, playing only his second Test, acknowledged. “It is a learning curve for me and I am enjoying every bit of it. Performing for India is the ultimate high, I am living it right now. Obviously, my turn will come. Gautam and Viru are both playing very well and I hope they continue in the same way. Whenever I get an opportunity, I’ve got to be prepared.

“No instructions were given to me, but I had an extra burden on my head that I had to get us off to a good start because of the record Gautam and Viru have together. I have been doing really well in domestic cricket, I just wanted to go out and give it my best.”

In awe of Sehwag, unbeaten on 284 at stumps, Vijay gushed, “It is always good to play with him. He is a great batsman, I enjoyed batting with him. His was a fantastic innings. You learn a lot by watching him play. I hope he can carry on and get 400. Batting with him takes the pressure off you because if you play normal cricket, you get runs. He always keeps you in a calm state of mind. It is important to stay calm while playing international cricket. He does it and in a lot of ways, he helps me out.”

Vijay got to his maiden Test fifty by shimmying down the track and lashing Muttiah Muralitharan over long-on for six. The two Muralis share a good relationship, Vijay calling the Sri Lankan ace ‘Murali anna’. “I didn’t see the scoreboard. He had mid-on and mid-off up for me, so I just came out and went for it. I played a lot with him in the IPL. I wanted to play solid because that way, I could get some runs. I know he is a great bowler, I went out looking to play positively.”

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