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Murali Vijay feels that India still have the edge AFP

By SS Ramaswamy

Rajkot: They might have been disappointing so far but Indian opener Murali Vijay is still hopeful that the Indian spinners will utilise the spin-friendly conditions on the final day. “It’s a pretty good wicket, [though it has] gone slower. There’s a lot of assistance to the spinners now. Hopefully we can put some pressure in the morning session get some wickets and you never know,” said Vijay after the fourth day s play at the SCA Stadium. Vijay feels that India still have the edge. “Definitely, we have the edge. We have got closer to their target. We still have a chance, you never know. If in the morning session we get 3-4 quick wickets, in the last session we can score 200 runs and go for it. A very interesting game is there [on last day],” said the 32-year-old opener who hit his 7th Test ton yesterday and also featured in a splendid double century second wicket partnership with local stalwart Pujara. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot

He said it was important for the hosts to concentrate on their own strategy rather than look at what England might or might not do. “I am not thinking anything like that [about what England will do] as long as we take wickets. That’s our main aim rather than waiting for what England will do. We could have gone ahead of them; ifs and buts are there, but it’s been very good [batting performance],” he remarked.

He was also pleased with the way Ashwin and wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha once again came together to take the team out of troubled waters like in the recent past. “It [partnership for the 7th wicket] was definitely crucial. They have been doing this job for a while now. Good to see Saha and Ashwin putting up a vital partnership. Every time we have been in tricky situation they have got us out,” said Vijay. IND vs ENG, 1st Test: Haseeb Hameed’s maiden fifty puts England in commanding position; lead by 163

Ashwin and Saha got together when India lost the wickets of captain Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in quick succession in the first session, remained unconquered at lunch and continued on into the second session. On his own century and double hundred stand with Cheteshwar Pujara, Vijay said that key was not to allow the spinners Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari settle into a rhythm.

“They are pretty good bowlers, that’s why they are in the team. Obviously, we have got to give them due respect. At the same time we have to be confident in our skill sets and execute that at a level where we are comfortable, not allowing them to settle in line and length. That was the key for us. Myself and Pujara were trying to execute that while batting.”

Vijay had encouraging words for teenage opener Haseeb Hameed, who has struck a fluent 62. “Pretty good talent, saw a calm head. These are good signs for a cricketer. He [Hameed] has a bright future,” he said succinctly.