Vijay: ‘The match is evenly poised at the moment’

Murali Vijay admitted that the Aussie bowling gave little away in the first session and said himself and Cheteshwar Pujara, after a chat, had decided to take on the bowling.

Vijay said fast bowler Pat Cummins made an impression.   -  Reuters

Murali Vijay’s visage masked the disappointment of missing a gilt-edged opportunity to score a hundred.

On the stroke – he stepped out to be stumped off O’Keefe – that led to his dismissal, Vijay said, “I was not disappointed actually because the shot was on. Mid-on and mid-off inside. I thought it was my shot, but situation [just before lunch] was wrong and, I guess, the execution was not up to the mark.”

The opener said, “The game is evenly poised. If we can get closer to the target and Maybe, if possible, extend a lead from there, it would be a good game for us.”

Vijay admitted that the Aussie bowling gave little away in the first session and said himself and Cheteshwar Pujara, after a chat, had decided to take on the bowling.

He said, “We knew if we put them under pressure, we can get lot of runs in second and third session. That was the basic idea. It came out pretty well. We could have been in much better position had I not got out.”

On Pujara, who notched up his 11th Test hundred, Vijay said, “He takes a lot pressure off others. His game is such that you can depend on him and play your natural game.”

Vijay said fast bowler Pat Cummins made an impression. “He was bowling really well. He was sharp in the early spell. Then he was trying to bowl one line to us but as soon as the wicket fell, he had extra gas.”

Asked about his journey to 50 Tests, Vijay said, “It's a great feeling to be honest. I can still remember the first time I joined the Indian team. All I can say is I am grateful. The Lord's test win is one moment that stands out.”

Queried about lack of runs from skipper Virat Kohli, Vijay said, “He's a world class player. To judge any player on two or three innings is unfair. It's just a matter of time for him to get back into runs. I think it would be sooner than later.”

Australia’s bowling coach David Saker was impressed by Cummins’ comeback. “I thought last night he bowled particularly well but today he backed that up. To produce some of the balls he bowled to get wickets was pretty exciting. Ball speed in India is a big thing because the wickets don’t generate any pace.”

Revealing the Aussie plan against Kohli, Saker said, “If players have got upper body injuries then sometimes you’re trying to bowl some short balls to them and make them move quickly. “But on that surface it’s probably only Patty Cummins would have been the only one able to do that, and one of his first balls to him he got him out.”

There was also a belief in the Indian team that Peter Handscomb ran up to skipper Steven Smith and rubbed his shoulders, seemingly pointing at Kohli's injury, after the Indian captain was caught by his Australian counterpart off Cummins.

After two days of peace, things may be getting out of hand again.