Murali Vijay returned to the Indian dressing room unbeaten on 55 when the bails were taken off by the umpires at the Melbourne Cricket Ground this evening. This is Vijay’s 4th 50 plus score in 5 innings on the Australian tour. Out of the last three fifties, he converted one into hundred. He would want to convert this one too into a three-figure score.
Vijay has been out in the nineties quite often on overseas tours in the last one year. In South Africa, he got a wonderful 97 against the fiery trio of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. That knock could easily have been a hundred. Then, in England, at Lord’s where India secured a famous win courtesy Ishant Sharma’s spell on the 5th day, Vijay was caught behind on 95. He had played so well to reach that score and then, a little bit of a misjudgement outside the off stump cost him. In Australia in Adelaide, batting on the final day, he was just one away from his century, but, again luck went against him. A gentle off spinning delivery from Nathan Lyon, which Vijay would knock past square leg for a single 99 out of 100 times, actually hit him on the pad and he was out leg before wicket.
Vijay would not like another score in the nineties to his name, that is for certain. And, it’s important from India’s point of view too that he makes it big tomorrow. Because for the visitors now, winning this game is almost impossible. The best they can do is to save it and for that, they must ensure that they don’t let Australia take a big lead in the first innings. One thing that the Indian team management would be happy about is that on this pitch at MCG, there is not as much of pace and bounce as it was at Gabba.