His career was on the line. He was drafted into the team for the first time as the main opener not as a replacement. But his two failures in the Chennai Test did put a question mark on his future. But Murali Vijay dispelled all those doubts with a well-crafted unbeaten 129 against Australia in the second Test here.
“To be honest, pressure was there. I was preparing to fight it out as long as possible and may be if a good ball comes, then it’s fine,” said the 28-year-old opener, who hit his second Test century, both incidentally against Australia.
“Hopefully, it continues,” he added.
This knock would cement his place in the team after yet another failure by his opening partner Virender Sehwag. “I don’t know about that. But I’m really happy with my performance. It has helped the team,” he pointed out.
This innings, according to Vijay, was crucial to his career. “Every innings in international circuit is important. I was pumped up to play well in this series and that is what I worked for. I just wanted to hang in there and show what I’m capable of.”
In his big stand with Cheteshwar Pujara, in which both the batsmen regaled with marvellous cover drives, Vijay felt these type of partnership don’t always happen. “It is wonderful to get a good start to the team. We really enjoyed it,” he said, adding, “Pujara batted really well.”
Vijay admitted that failure at Chennai had hit him hard because he gave away the wicket in the second innings. “I wanted to give a good start to the team. Apparently it happened.”
Vijay said the wicket was getting better. “Some balls are really turning and some are not. You have to play and don’t take it easy against any spinner. We really batted well and did not give many chances.”
On whether any planning went into the partnership, Vijay said they took session by session. “Myself and Pujara decided to bat as long as possible because on this wicket, batsman coming in will find it little difficult. That was a conscious effort by us.”
Vijay said Pujara pulled a muscle. “Hopefully it should be okay on Monday,’’ he said when asked why Pujara was limping late in the day.