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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Murali Vijay glad to score runs against South Africa


Murali Vijay missed out on scoring his first Test century in South Africa but the Indian opening batsman was satisfied to have scored a fighting 97 in the first innings of the Durban Test.

"Home or overseas, scoring runs makes me happy," Vijay said, “I am happy with the way I batted the whole day yesterday. Of course, it is disappointing that I couldn't make a hundred.

"Scoring runs against the number one side in the world is self-assuring. With the kind of attack that they have, and this is not a flat pitch, it is a two-paced slow wicket. So it is difficult to score runs. I thought I batted well," he said.

The opener struggled to score first-class runs ahead of this series, in the home Test season as well as Ranji Trophy. But before heading for this tough tour, he worked on an aspect of his game that was letting him down.

"I have been watching videos before I came on this tour,” he said. “The one thing that got me out was playing away from the body, and especially in this part of the world that shot, the cover drive, is not on. You may be 100 percent sure about it, but it is still not on. I just wanted to cut down on that and play straight as much as possible. That was my game plan."

Vijay was part of the 157-run second wicket stand with Cheteshwar Pujara after which India lost wickets in cluster, to eventually get all-out for 334.

"Yes we are disappointed about giving away the advantage,” Vijay admitted. “MS (Dhoni) and Ajinkya (Rahane) had a little stint in the middle. It was not easy for the new batsman coming in because Dale (Steyn) was reversing the ball well. We should have taken the responsibility and gone through that session.

"Unfortunately, he bowled well and we got out. We did well enough to score 334, and hopefully we will pull it off tomorrow," Vijay said.

Vijay was all praise for Dale Steyn, who triggered India’s collapse with three wickets, eventually finishing with 6 for 100. 

"When play started, I felt there was some kind of dew on the pitch or moisture, it was a little damp. The ball was bouncing a little more than yesterday. And the way Steyn bowled today, the way he gave it all, that is why he's the number one bowler in the world.

"Pujara told me that Steyn was getting reverse swing. So we wanted to play a bit carefully but unfortunately we couldn't do it."

The Indian opener also paid his tribute to the retiring South African legend, Jacques Kallis, who is playing his last Test match.

"It was shocking news for our dressing room, because in the span of two months, two legends have retired (referring to Sachin Tendulkar). 

Jacques has done a great job for his country and as a youngster I used to watch him a lot and learnt few things from him in the IPL. Obviously, he's a great cricketer," Vijay said.

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