Vijay, Pujara in command with tons

2013-03-04 00:00

AN unbeaten 294-run partnership between Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara put India in the lead at stumps, with a total of 311 for one on the second day of the second Test against Australia in Hyderabad yesterday.

Vijay will continue in the morning on 129, ten runs shy of his highest test score, and Pujara will resume on 162 — his fourth test century

The pair took the session by the scruff of the neck, scoring at a rate of five runs to the over. They dispatched the Australian bowlers to all corners, adding 150 runs to steer their total 74 runs past Australia’s first-innings score.

Their efforts have moved them into third place on India’s all-time partnership records for the second wicket, behind the 314 between Rahul Dravid and Gautam Gambhir against England in 2008, and the 344 runs that Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar compiled against the West Indies in 1978.

When the new ball became available, the visitors wasted no time in accepting it, but it didn’t have the desired effect, and only nine overs later, Xavier Doherty found himself back into the attack.

Debutant Glenn Maxwell was offered another chance to redeem himself, but after conceding 24 runs off three overs was promptly dispatched to field on the boundary. Earlier, India blossomed in the second session as they moved along to 160 for one at tea, a deficit of only 77 runs.

Vijay and Pujara capitalised on their cautious approach of the morning where only 49 runs were added to their overnight score of five without loss.

Even though Peter Siddle and James Pattinson got the ball to reverse swing, it did not bother the two batsmen as they set about punishing anything loose, and continued to play the shorter deliveries with confidence.

Maxwell started off his international bowling career with a maiden, but the pair soon sorted him out and took runs off him at will.

The off-spinner was taken out of the attack after seven overs which yielded a welcome 31 runs for India.

During a circumspect morning session, Virender Sehwag (six) — who tried to bide his time but looked uncomfortable all the while — received a shorter one from Siddle and edged it through to Matthew Wade in the first 20 minutes of the day’s play.

Pujara came to the crease and, together with Vijay survived a testing time, where the ball kept lower than expected on a few occasions — though nothing too worrisome for the hosts.

Scores in brief:

Australia 237/9 dec (Clarke 91, Wade 62, Jadeja 3/33, Kumar 3/53)

India 311/1 (Pujara 162*, Vijay 129*, Siddle 1/51)

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