Vijay, Pujara grind Sri Lanka into Nagpur dust

Opener Murali Vijay made an impressive return to worldwide arena after eight months with a patient century as India comfortably reached 185 for one at tea against Sri Lanka on the second day of the second cricket Test, here today.

Earlier in the day, Pujara and Vijay combined for a 209-run partnership for the second wicket, which was their third double century partnership and helped India take the lead.

Another satisfying piece of statistic is that Vijay- Pujara pair score at an average of 73 runs per partnership -- highest among all Indian pairs across Test cricket.

If the visitors thought they would get more joy late in the day they were badly mistaken as India captain Virat Kohli continued to pile on the misery stroking an unbeaten 54 off just 70 balls. Veteran spinner Rangana Herath got Vijay out for 128 in the only wicket of the day.

The signs were ominous for Sri Lanka as Vijay executed a gorgeous square drive off the first delivery of the day from Suranga Lakmal, leaning into a wide outswinger and dispatching it through to the fence.

2 - Only two Indian openers, Sunil Gavaskar (33) and Virender Sehwag (22) have scored more centuries than Murali Vijay (10). Kohli took very little time to settle at the crease. He was 19 off 60 when he skipped down to Herath, got an inside edge to offer a half chance at short leg and also a full chance for a run-out because he had stepped out too far.

"I like batting, so it does not matter who bats at the other end!"

The hosts crossed the 100-run mark in the innings shortly after the break and at this point, Vijay and Pujara were in full control of the innings. Vijay completed his half-century. Then, a long-term wrist injury resurfaced and he was subsequently ruled out of the Sri Lanka tour, losing his place to Shikhar Dhawan. Kohli brought his Eden Gardens form in this innings as well, as he started to deal in boundaries right from the word go.

Two days before the first Test a fever ruled Rahul out of the match and Dhawan, who was holidaying in Hong Kong, was drafted in the squad and the southpaw cashed in, scoring two hundreds in three Tests.

Pujara watched every ball closely and played a patient knock to bring up his 14th Test ton, while Vijay marked his return in the Test cricket with his 10th century.

  • Stacy Allen