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Vijay gives India a bright start

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Indian batsman Murali Vijay in action

Indian batsman Murali Vijay in action
Indian batsman Murali Vijay in action

Murali Vijay’s stylish 144 helped India amass 311 for four by stumps on day one of the second Test against Australia at the Gabba here .

India became the second visiting team to score more than 300 runs on the first day of a Test match at the Gabba, buoyed by Vijay’s fifth hundred in Tests and Ajinkya Rahane’s solid 75 not out. Only the formidable West Indies team of 1959-60 had scored more than 300 runs on day one here.

Vijay and Rahane’s fourth-wicket partnership of 124 was the catalyst for India in seizing the initiative.

At stumps, Rahane and Rohit Sharma (batting 26) had forged a 50-run stand to continue India’s dominance.

Vijay, who had a few lucky breaks and made full use of them, came out all guns blazing post-tea and quickly reached his first ton on Australian soil.

Rahane, after a nervy start, became more assured in the final session. Rohit looked comfortable from the very beginning.

Apart from a brief spell in the second session, Australia’s bowlers never troubled the Indians.

Even more worrying for the hosts would be the seriousness of the injuries sustained to all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and debutant pacer Josh Hazlewood, both of whom left the field midway during play.

Earlier, a 56-run partnership for the opening wicket between Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan (24) helped India reach 89 for one at lunch.

The two openers gave a good account of themselves after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the brave decision of batting first on winning the toss.

The extra bounce offered by the lively Gabba pitch did cause a few problems to both the batsmen initially. But they adopted a patient and cautious approach to get past the testing times.

Vijay, who has a tendency of playing away from his body, lived a charmed life, surviving despite edging several times. He was dropped on 36 by Shaun Marsh at gully off Mitchell Johnson.

Left-hander Dhawan got a start but failed to capitalise, getting out after edging a short and wide delivery from Marsh.

Australia did pull things back with the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara (18) and Virat Kohli (19), both falling to debutant pacer Hazlewood, who impressed on his first day in top-level action.

The Australians benefited from a dubious umpiring decision when Ian Gould adjudged Pujara out caught off the bowling of Hazlewood to give him his first Test wicket. TV replays though clearly showed the ball had hit an evasive Pujara’s helmet, missing the bat by a fair distance.

Kohli also got a foundation upon which he could have built a strong knock but fell trying to thrash a short and wide delivery.

But after these hiccups Vijay took over the reins and there was no looking back for India.