How one mistake turned Murali Vijay's attitude and fortunes
India opener Murali Vijay, who scored a century on Sunday, revealed that he decided to change his game and stick in there to avoid throwing away his wicket like he did in the 1st Test in Chennai.
It was that one moment of madness that may have revived Murali Vijay's career and set him on the right path.
Set a relatively small target of 50 to win the first Test against Australia in Chennai, Vijay tried to finish the game in a hurry but ending up chipping James Pattinson to the fielder at mid-off to fall for six.
Following that blunder, Vijay decided to make amends and never again throw his wicket away. He set his mind at batting for long periods of time and play big knocks.
In his next innings, in the second Test in Hyderabad, Vijay decided that he would make the bowlers earn his wicket. It was eight hours before Australia finally bagged his wicket but by then he had smashed his way to a splendid knock of 167 from 361 balls.
And he maintained his ploy in the third Test in Mohali too. This time he batted for 416 minutes with equal effect, scoring 153 runs in 317 balls for his second successive century.
Image: Murali Vijay
'I just wanted to do it the hard way, stick it in there and play longer'
Vijay, 28, revealed how his rash dismissal in Chennai had hurt him and he had taken it upon himself to make sure he put a tag on his wicket.
"It is a Test match, so you got to take time and bat. Actually I was working on my game before this. I wanted to stay at the wicket. The Chennai second innings [dismissal] hurt me a lot. From there I just wanted to stick in because I know I can play my shots but it is not helping me at the moment. I just wanted to do it the hard way, stick it in there and play longer," he said on Sunday at the end of fourth day's play.
Vijay was involved in a 289-run opening stand with debutant Shikhar Dhawan, who smashed his way to a blistering innings of 187.
While Dhawan got off the blocks with a flurry of boundaries, Vijay was content to play second fiddle and enjoy the entertainment from the other end.
Image: Murali Vijay celebrates his century
'It was great fun to watch Dhawan from the other end'
The India opener paid rich tributes to his new batting partner.
"It is just incredible for anybody to play like that, and especially a debutant like him. The way he played and the time he had to play as many shots as he did was unbelievable. It was great fun to watch from the other end," he said.
The Chennai batsman showed great maturity to adjust his game because he believed it was important to let Dhawan play his natural game and not disrupt his rhythm. He was content to play second fiddle while his teammate dispatched the Australian bowlers to all parts of the stadium
"When somebody is batting so well and the run rate is so high I just wanted to hang in and play my game as per whatever I am comfortable with. Shikhar was getting the score at nearly four to five runs per over so there was no need for me to go for any shots. So I just wanted to play a little bit tighter and let him play his natural game. That is what we discussed and I didn't want to stop the flow of Shikhar," he said.
Image: Murali Vijay congratulates Shikhar Dhawan
'Our plan was to bat as long as possible and set up a big lead'
The Indian opener believes that India still have a chance to win this match with 90 overs at their disposal and Australia having already lost their top three batsmen.
"Our plan was to bat as long as possible and we just wanted to set up a big lead so that we can come back into the Test match and win it hopefully. That was our thinking and hopefully...there are 90 overs left tomorrow. I think we are in a pretty good position at this moment considering the wicket and everything. There is nothing to be worried about," he said.
Vijay pointed out that with the ball is reversing and the wicket getting lower and slower, Australia face a difficult task to survive the last day."It has been swinging from day one and that is what we prepared for because in Mohali you have different conditions altogether. The reverse swing was happening after lunch. Myself and Shikhar played really well. Hopefully we should wait for something to happen tomorrow. It is getting lower and slower so it is going to difficult for them to score runs," the right-hander said.
Image: Murali Vijay