India’s Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara keep SA at bay

2013-12-26 15:18

The Proteas endured a tough session at the hands of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, with the two putting together a partnership of 122 for the second wicket.

The pair looked untroubled and actually took the fight to what looked like a listless Proteas attack.

They scored 60 runs in the first hour after lunch, sapping whatever energy the Proteas had. The home team could not find any way in which to stem the runs, except for impressive spells by Morne Morkel, who continued to extract steep bounce from the lifeless surface.

With the floodlights already on, light will be a factor later in the day, but the clouds, even though they did not threaten any rain, did not aid any lateral movement in the air.

It allowed Vijay and Pujara to hit through the line with impunity. The former has not been a big runs scorer away from home, but he seldom looked troubled in his 167-minute stay. He brought up his 50 with a lovely straight drive off 102 balls.

It is the kind of innings that teams want from their openers. With the pitch not showing any signs of threatening the batsmen, a first test century outside of Asia is on the cards for Vijay.

Pujara was far more attacking and at one stage had compiled 30 off 45 balls, but then, strangely, was becalmed until he reached his 50 just before tea.

It took him 97 balls to reach his landmark, but if there can be reference to his Wanderers century, he starts slowly then accelerates. The acceleration from India was marked with 83 runs scored in 27 overs.

They showed that they could accelerate in the last session, like they did in the final session on day three at the Wanderers, where they ransacked 175 runs. Anything of that sort will not bode too well for the Proteas, especially with their dismal record here at Kingsmead.

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