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IND vs Aus 2nd Test Day 1: Vijay Ton Makes Australia Sweat

By on December 17, 2014

India 4 for 311 (Vijay 144, Rahane 75*, Hazlewood 2-44) vs Australia…

It was Murali Vijay’s fourth ton against Australia.

Murali Vijay’s fifth ton, two dropped catches and Josh Hazlewood’s impressive debut were the highlights of the opening day of the second Test at the Gabba on Wednesday as India took the honours at 311/4 at the close of play.

After an impressive opening session that saw the Indians score 89/1, the hosts came back well in the afternoon with Hazlewood taking the big wickets of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. The see-saw continued as the scale tilted in India’s favour in the evening session thanks to a 124-run partnership between Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane.

IND vs Aus 2nd Test Day 1: Murali Vijay

Vijay, who is turning out to be Australia’s nemesis, was lucky to have been dropped on 36 and 102 – on both occasion by Shaun Marsh off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson – and he made the most of those opportunities. The opener, who fell one run short of a ton at Adelaide, shifted gears in the final session and took just 18 balls to get the required 23 runs to reach his fourth ton against Australia.

Off-drives and flicks were predominantly the feature of his batting and the way he negated Nathan Lyon, who took 12 wickets in Adelaide, was important in the larger context. He eventually fell to Lyon for 144 off 213 balls with Brad Haddin taking his fourth catch behind the wickets, but by that time he had put India in a strong position. Rahane, after a few initial anxious moments, provided the perfect foil for Vijay. Unbeaten on 75, Rahane closed out the evening session along with Rohit Sharma (26).

It turned out to be a baptism of fire for Steven Smith who was given Test reins for the remainder of the series in the wake of Michael Clarke’s unavailability due to hamstring and back injuries he picked up in the first Test. The Australians were also guilty of maintaining a slow over-rate as they could only bowl 83 overs despite a half-hour extension.

Earlier in the day, when India captain MS Dhoni, returning from a thumb injury, opted to bat on a bouncy surface, his decision seemed more like foolhardiness than bravado but Vijay and Dhawan justified their captain’s call by bringing up India’s first overseas fifty for the opening stand in more than three years.

Abhinav Mukund and Gautam Gambhir were the last Indian openers to have done so outside the sub-continent in 2011. It was refreshing to see the way Vijay and Dhawan left deliveries outside their off stump. Even the flamboyant Dhawan, less known for his technique, was circumspect staying away from anything pitched outside offstump.

Their patience paid dividends when their partnership reached 50 in 12.1 overs. However, as has been his wont of late, Dhawan (24) undid his good work when he edged a widish Mitchell Marsh delivery, while attempting to cut, to Haddin.

There could have been another wicket for the Aussies in the morning session, had Shaun Marsh, playing in place of Clarke, not spilled an edge off Vijay who played away to a Johnson delivery. Shaun, in the slips, dived to his left but failed to pouch a dipping ball.

Vijay and No.3 Pujara successfully dealt with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries taking the team to the three-figure mark in the afternoon session before a brilliant Hazlewood bouncer had Pujara, trying to stay out of the ball’s path, caught behind.

However, replays suggested there was no edge and that the ball had gone to Haddin off the batsman’s helmet . Nonetheless, the right-hander’s wicket for 18 was what Australia needed at that time. Kohli, twin-centurion at the Adelaide Oval, fell to another Hazlewood special that kicked up a bit late in the second session and Haddin took a simple catch. Kohli made 19.

In the build-up to the game, there was a lot of talk about the possibility of Johnson and co. running through the Indian batting on a wicket where fast bowlers have had a great time in the past, accounting for 1207 wickets in 56 games. However, they were nowhere close to doing that with Hazlewood (2/44) being the pick of the bowlers.

What made Australia’s day worse was Mitchell Marsh’s hamstring injury. The allrounder pulled up short in his follow through while bowling early after lunch and couldn’t bowl for the rest of the day.

Source: gocricket

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