By Chetan Narula
Durban: Dec 27, 2013
He might have missed out on what should have been a well-deserved ton but opener Murali Vijay is satisfied that he had made significant contribution with his score of 97 against a quality South African attack in the second Test.
“Home or overseas, scoring runs makes me happy,” he 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,” Vijay added.
“Scoring runs against the No 1 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 added.
When asked specifically about an area of his batting that he worked hard on, he replied, “I have been watching videos before I came on this tour. 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 had a 157-run partnership for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara. But once the two batsmen got out, India folded on either side of the tea-break, bowled out for 334 runs.
“Yes we are disappointed about giving away the advantage. 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.
Steyn took 6-100, three wickets in the post-lunch session and another three after tea, to blow away the Indian batting.
“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 No 1 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.”
South Africa finished the day at 82 for no loss, 252 runs behind the Indian total.
“Yes, we gave away those 15-20 extra runs in the final session, but we were waiting for some reverse swing to happen. Let us see how tomorrow goes,” he said.
The final question was pertaining to the retirement of Jacques Kallis and the impact his announcement has made on this Test.
“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 learned few things from him in the IPL. Obviously, he’s a great cricketer,” Vijay signed off.
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