Hyderabad: After his twin failures in the first Test, Murali Vijay was a man on a mission to make amends and he did that in style - scoring an unbeaten 129 and sharing an unbroken 294-run second wicket stand with Cheteshwar Pujara, who too remained not out on 162 at stumps on day two.
After his 288-ball knock on Sunday, Vijay said he was under pressure to perform, especially after his failures in the Chennai Test, which India won by eight wickets. "To be honest, pressure was there. I don't take things from outside. But I made mistake in the last Test. I should have finished the game in the second innings there. That [last game] hit me hard. I just wanted to stay at the wicket as long as possible. I didn't want to give my wicket away," Vijay said after the day's play.
Vijay didn't say whether this knock would help him secure a permanent place in the side, but said the innings helped the side take a commanding position in the second Test. "I don't know about that but I am really happy that my innings has helped the team big time," the 28-year-old opener added.
Vijay also said he was geared up to do well in the series. "Every innings at the international level is important. I was definitely pumped up to play the series." He also complimented Pujara for his brilliant display. "A partnership like this doesn't happen all the time. I must say Pujara batted really well."
Like Vijay, Pujara too played some attractive strokes during his 251-ball knock. But the Saurashtra batsman was in visible discomfort after he aggravated his knee injury, which he suffered some time back, while diving to take a quick single. Vijay assured that Pujara had pulled his muscle and he would be fine to bat on day three. "It's just a muscle pull and he will be fine on Monday."
Vijay said his only aim was to give the side a good platform and he was happy he managed to do that. "It doesn't matter how the wicket was. My aim was to give a good start. It's a nice wicket to bat on although scoring runs isn't easy. But it is certainly getting better. Myself and Pujara made a conscious effort to take it session by session," he added.
About Australia's spinners - Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell - Vijay said, "There were a few balls that did turn. Some are turning and some are not but there was no way that you could take on the spinners lightly. Also we batted well and didn't give their spinners any chances."
Will this innings help Vijay find a permanent place at the top order?