South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 1st day December 26, 2013

Vijay finds middle ground

M Vijay can look a star or a pretender, but in Durban today he produced a pivotal innings which may very well set the platform for more to come
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Manjrekar: Impressed with Vijay's patience

M Vijay gives you the impression of being a moody batsman. When it clicks for him, he can effortlessly play some of the most extraordinary shots. When it doesn't, Vijay can look ugly, scratching around, playing half-hearted shots and then eventually nicking a wide delivery. Despite three sizeable hundreds - 139, 167 and 158 - in 19 Tests before this, his average was only 37. Vijay has had no middle ground. It manifests itself in that he is an IPL star and a Test opener, but he struggles in ODIs.

Vijay averaged 17.25 in Ranji Trophy last year, but was still picked for higher levels, a punt he repaid with back-to-back 150s against Australia. Again, what was missing in his career was something between a million dollar and nothing. Innings where he would struggle, but still fight it out. Each of his three innings on this tour so far has ticked that box.

There is nothing spectacular about what Vijay has done on this tour, but he has gritted it out, more so in Johannesburg than here in Durban, where the conditions have been more like India than South Africa. Even on the first day at the Wanderers when he scored just 6, Vijay spent more than an hour at the wicket, refusing to go looking for runs when they were not available. Eventually he got a beauty from Morne Morkel, which might have got great batsmen out.

In the second innings, Vijay stuck around for longer, saw the new ball off when South Africa's bowlers would have been at their most charged. It tired the bowlers - Morkel got injured - and the base was set for Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to dominate. What Vijay has managed in Durban - he is nine short of what could be his first century outside India and against a team other than Australia - has its root in the Johannesburg struggle.

Even at Kingsmead, he was cautious and patient at the start. The pitch was to his liking, but he gave the bowlers due respect before opening up. The most threatening balls here were the ones Morkel got to jump from just short of a length. Vijay scored only 9 off 33 deliveries from Morkel. The one time he got adventurous against the tall fast bowler was when he had reached his fifty, but that outside edge - his only boundary off Morkel - would have reinforced the need for caution against South Africa's best bowler of the series.

The other weapon South Africa tried was short-and-fast bowling. Vijay was hit on the arm, he was hit on the guard, but he marched on. Well not quite. Progress was slow, but there was a price on his wicket. The loose deliveries came once again from South Africa's spinner, Robin Peterson, who began with a full toss that was put away for four.

Vijay was 20 off 52 when Peterson came on but those few loose overs gave him confidence and he began to flow freely. That spell of freedom continued until he reached the 70s with successive fours off Vernon Philander, which suggested he was playing in south India and not South Africa. He felt confident, and could play in front of the body now. When Philander overpitched, Vijay placed it gracefully through the covers. The next one was shorter and wide. Vijay was nowhere near it, but punched deliberately over cover.

South Africa tightened up again, except for the re-emergence of Peterson, which helped Vijay to the 90s. Towards the end, though, in fading light, they went back to testing the batsman's patience with quick and short bowling with a leg trap in place. Vijay didn't look the most comfortable, but he survived the period, scoring just one run in 23 balls. He lived to fight another day.

This was neither Vijay's most attractive innings nor his best, but it is worth 91 and is the middle ground his career needed.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | December 28, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Perhaps the author should find a middle ground neutral between north and south.

  • POSTED BY jaggi.jagan on | December 27, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    In good old days, test batsmen left lots and lots of deliveries going outside their off stumps. Over the years, sub continent cricketers, due to lots of limited over games, became compulsive front foot drivers of the ball. The lack of bounce on the sub continent wickets too is very conducive for such stroke play. The art of leaving balls going outside the off is slowly on a decline. What Vijay did in these 2 games against SA was, leave a plenty going on and around the off stump. This was a huge difference to his success. It is not easy though to know which ones to leave and which not to leave (I am sure you all saw Rohit leave one today). All he needed was an overseas tour that he can return from with loads of self esteem and self confidence. With his place assured, I can see him lot more freely and also with a flair that we have seen from him every once in a while. At this level, it is 50% skills and 50% mental strength. Hope Vijay will get there soon!

  • POSTED BY ramli on | December 27, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Vijay first came into Indian team on the strength of his heavy as well as consistent scoring in domestic circuit ... showed gumption for fight ... lost his way in between but grabbed the latest chance given to him ... if he develops strong attitude, he will succeed ... Vijay has booked his place at least to NZ ... may be Rayudu will lose his place to Gambhir for that tour ... otherwise, same team must deliver the goods in the days to come ... well done India

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @Ashwin Ram Vijay Better Than Sehwag.... Good Joke Buddy... The way sehwag can dominate a bowling attack no other batsman in the world can do so. the pitch the bowlers nothing else effects sehwags scoring. no doubt Vijay has played a gem of a innings but please dnt say he is better than sehwag.

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | December 27, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    @ jimbond, You have no idea about the guy's confidence and strong mind. He was smashing runs in test matches against the invincible Aussies of early 2000's. I knew at that time, this is one of the guys who should be a permanent in the Indian team. If your top 20 are batsmen who scored just raw runs within India, regardless of the opposition, ground, etc, then Vijay may not be there. But, international cricket needs guts and confidence to perform. Vijay has certainly got it. So does KKD Karthik. For some strange reasons, KKD is not there. But, time will hopefully get him there. This has nothing to do with the region where they are coming from. I am talking about the same kind of guts and confidence displayed by Kapildev, Ravi Shastri, Sehwag, Dravid, Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Kiran More, Sreesanth who are all from different regions. However, I hope Vijay play more aggressively when he comes to Australia. Because, that is the best way to play against the aussies.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | December 27, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Pujara best in the world? No way. He can't clear the field if good bowlers set containing fields so if he is required to score quick runs to win a test match he can't. It is due to both lack of physical clout and technique. India's best batsman is Kohli. But Kohli cannot be ranked above AB De Villiers and Kevin Petersen. Michael Clarke, Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis and Kumar Sangakara have the same weakness Pujara has. But they have been demonstrating skills for years. Therefore the order is AB De Villiers, Kevin Petersen, Virat Kohli, Michael Clarke, Kumar Sangakara, Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis and the Pujara. Pujara is 8th best in the world @ Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist.

  • POSTED BY true_point on | December 27, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    When this team came to SA, the pundits and punters alike did not give them a chance. However so far in this test series, this young team lacking in experience has shown mental fortitude, attitude and also the gumption to stay at the wicket, play the ball by its merit, judge the balls that should be left and leave them and finally put a price on their wicket. You bet a Virendar Shewag can learn a few things about leaving the ball outside the off stump and also curb his natural instincts for the greater good of the team. This team needs to do these things in a fairly consistent manner. Then the cricket crazy and viewing public will embrace test cricket with open arms. The team's winning attitude and fighting spirit will rub off on the nation.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | December 27, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I think @jimbond has problems with his memory. 'finally he has performed'???? Has Dhawan, Rohit, Rahane, Pujara performed before Vijay? Pujara had no time to play his strokes when he was given chance here in the last tour. Only Kohli is clearly better than Vijay. @jimbond, that is a pathetic comment.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Even Pujara struggled in his first SA tour if we remember. Virat scored century in his first overseas tour of Aussie after 4 innings failure. That time too everybody shouted to drop Virat. But thanks to Dhoni who stuck with Virat and since then everybody knows what Virat did. So why we are so impatient about our youngsters ? Give them time to settle. Definately it is not easy to adjust immediately for anybody from Kanpur to Johanesburg. Rohit and Shikhar scored more than 1000 ODI runs this year. And it's not against poor teams and only on Indian pitches. They scored in CT in England, Rohit was the highest scorer in WI Tri series, where every batsmen struggled. And then in India against Aussies. Though it's on Indian pitches, but against bowlers like Michel Johnson and Maccay. So be patient about our youngsters. Have faith enough on them. Like Virat, Pujara everybody will serve for Indian cricket for long time. All the best India !!!

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | December 27, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I seriously don't know what is the problem with author. It seems that all cricket analyst have written so many articles declaring that Indian batsmen can't play fast bowling and our domestic cricket is so bad tha it will take net 20 years to replace fab 4 etc, that these cricket analysts can't digest the success of young men. Getting runs or getting out is the part of the game (as bowlers are there as well to compete) but Viay has shown that he is an honest trier. I bet no other opener in the world would have batted as well as he has against steyn and morkel in their own backyard and that too without having experience of these conditions. Well played Viay. Don't worry about critics, they want everything perfect, but the fact is nothing is perfect in the world, not even the critics.

  • POSTED BY on | December 28, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Perhaps the author should find a middle ground neutral between north and south.

  • POSTED BY jaggi.jagan on | December 27, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    In good old days, test batsmen left lots and lots of deliveries going outside their off stumps. Over the years, sub continent cricketers, due to lots of limited over games, became compulsive front foot drivers of the ball. The lack of bounce on the sub continent wickets too is very conducive for such stroke play. The art of leaving balls going outside the off is slowly on a decline. What Vijay did in these 2 games against SA was, leave a plenty going on and around the off stump. This was a huge difference to his success. It is not easy though to know which ones to leave and which not to leave (I am sure you all saw Rohit leave one today). All he needed was an overseas tour that he can return from with loads of self esteem and self confidence. With his place assured, I can see him lot more freely and also with a flair that we have seen from him every once in a while. At this level, it is 50% skills and 50% mental strength. Hope Vijay will get there soon!

  • POSTED BY ramli on | December 27, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Vijay first came into Indian team on the strength of his heavy as well as consistent scoring in domestic circuit ... showed gumption for fight ... lost his way in between but grabbed the latest chance given to him ... if he develops strong attitude, he will succeed ... Vijay has booked his place at least to NZ ... may be Rayudu will lose his place to Gambhir for that tour ... otherwise, same team must deliver the goods in the days to come ... well done India

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @Ashwin Ram Vijay Better Than Sehwag.... Good Joke Buddy... The way sehwag can dominate a bowling attack no other batsman in the world can do so. the pitch the bowlers nothing else effects sehwags scoring. no doubt Vijay has played a gem of a innings but please dnt say he is better than sehwag.

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | December 27, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    @ jimbond, You have no idea about the guy's confidence and strong mind. He was smashing runs in test matches against the invincible Aussies of early 2000's. I knew at that time, this is one of the guys who should be a permanent in the Indian team. If your top 20 are batsmen who scored just raw runs within India, regardless of the opposition, ground, etc, then Vijay may not be there. But, international cricket needs guts and confidence to perform. Vijay has certainly got it. So does KKD Karthik. For some strange reasons, KKD is not there. But, time will hopefully get him there. This has nothing to do with the region where they are coming from. I am talking about the same kind of guts and confidence displayed by Kapildev, Ravi Shastri, Sehwag, Dravid, Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Kiran More, Sreesanth who are all from different regions. However, I hope Vijay play more aggressively when he comes to Australia. Because, that is the best way to play against the aussies.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | December 27, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Pujara best in the world? No way. He can't clear the field if good bowlers set containing fields so if he is required to score quick runs to win a test match he can't. It is due to both lack of physical clout and technique. India's best batsman is Kohli. But Kohli cannot be ranked above AB De Villiers and Kevin Petersen. Michael Clarke, Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis and Kumar Sangakara have the same weakness Pujara has. But they have been demonstrating skills for years. Therefore the order is AB De Villiers, Kevin Petersen, Virat Kohli, Michael Clarke, Kumar Sangakara, Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis and the Pujara. Pujara is 8th best in the world @ Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist.

  • POSTED BY true_point on | December 27, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    When this team came to SA, the pundits and punters alike did not give them a chance. However so far in this test series, this young team lacking in experience has shown mental fortitude, attitude and also the gumption to stay at the wicket, play the ball by its merit, judge the balls that should be left and leave them and finally put a price on their wicket. You bet a Virendar Shewag can learn a few things about leaving the ball outside the off stump and also curb his natural instincts for the greater good of the team. This team needs to do these things in a fairly consistent manner. Then the cricket crazy and viewing public will embrace test cricket with open arms. The team's winning attitude and fighting spirit will rub off on the nation.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | December 27, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    I think @jimbond has problems with his memory. 'finally he has performed'???? Has Dhawan, Rohit, Rahane, Pujara performed before Vijay? Pujara had no time to play his strokes when he was given chance here in the last tour. Only Kohli is clearly better than Vijay. @jimbond, that is a pathetic comment.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Even Pujara struggled in his first SA tour if we remember. Virat scored century in his first overseas tour of Aussie after 4 innings failure. That time too everybody shouted to drop Virat. But thanks to Dhoni who stuck with Virat and since then everybody knows what Virat did. So why we are so impatient about our youngsters ? Give them time to settle. Definately it is not easy to adjust immediately for anybody from Kanpur to Johanesburg. Rohit and Shikhar scored more than 1000 ODI runs this year. And it's not against poor teams and only on Indian pitches. They scored in CT in England, Rohit was the highest scorer in WI Tri series, where every batsmen struggled. And then in India against Aussies. Though it's on Indian pitches, but against bowlers like Michel Johnson and Maccay. So be patient about our youngsters. Have faith enough on them. Like Virat, Pujara everybody will serve for Indian cricket for long time. All the best India !!!

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | December 27, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I seriously don't know what is the problem with author. It seems that all cricket analyst have written so many articles declaring that Indian batsmen can't play fast bowling and our domestic cricket is so bad tha it will take net 20 years to replace fab 4 etc, that these cricket analysts can't digest the success of young men. Getting runs or getting out is the part of the game (as bowlers are there as well to compete) but Viay has shown that he is an honest trier. I bet no other opener in the world would have batted as well as he has against steyn and morkel in their own backyard and that too without having experience of these conditions. Well played Viay. Don't worry about critics, they want everything perfect, but the fact is nothing is perfect in the world, not even the critics.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    I read some of the comments made before the series started.No one ever gave him a chance.No he has given back to all his haters.He is infinite times better than Sehwag,Gambhir or Jaffer.

  • POSTED BY StreetView on | December 27, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    @jimbond Your comment reeks of bias. If at all some cricketer was selected not based on merit it must have been Rohit Sharma from 2009-2012.

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | December 27, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    @ jimbond - For some people it is always and only about selection, not about performance. What regional support? Who cares which region? Vijay has scored 618 runs in his last 10 innings at an average of 69. It is under these very (according to some) biased selections that India has risen to its highest rankings ever. Surely Dhoni would be (according to some), more interested in selection than in winning, and all his wins are due to luck alone. I hope some people find pickles to eat with their words.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | December 27, 2013, 5:27 GMT

    But the sceptics may be right. After doing well against SA Vijay might fail to motivate himself against NZ and lose his place. For all his talent he sure has a problem. But as for talent he may be more talented than even Rohit another unpredictable batsman. He can score runs much faster than Pujara, Dhawan, Rohit and Rahane. He can easily score a century in a T20. Kohli scores at a great rate but doesn't look flowing and natural like Vijay. But...........the writer may be right; he might not be a long term prospect. Vijay might start failing again due to his mind's frailty.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Excellent article about a man who is willing to fight against the pace of Steyn, Morne and against the accurate lines of Phil. He is sticking to the basics of Test Cricket and is using the 'Leave the ball' art as his major weapon and has been very successful so far in the tournament. He may not be as flow-y as Sehwag but his perseverance adds strength to the team as a whole. Its not about who win or lose, its about these alluring individual performances against the best bowling unit that needs to be duly credited. Way to go, Son !

  • POSTED BY Psyc_s on | December 27, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    Critics & Modern Mass Media were not in frenzy when cricketers creating their own Legacy and we had so many Legends who got recently retired. what we want now is players who should have done what we think and play in a way we want them to. We all want so many changes to be done by players for every ball bowled at them. Please give them their space to breath and set some benchmark before start enforcing all our ideas on them. Ten Sports Commentary team was talking like SA was playing against some associate team and the visiting team got very lucky to survive the first test and got a pitch for their liking in the second test. All through my 23 years of watching cricket had never seen such over confident commentators. when a bouncer is bowled the commentary team says that is the first one and that may not be the last one (Like DLF Maximum in IPL) and another one is saying Steyn will keep the ball to throat of batsman if try to dominate him. Better to Mute the volume and enjoy the contest.

  • POSTED BY testmatchonly on | December 27, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    For me, Vijay's talent is defined by his first boundary of his International career- that flowing cover drive off Brett Lee in Nagpur, which refuses to go away from my memory. Vijay's problem has been his mind. He should be one of the least confident persons about his ability. I feel some good brains in the BCCI have taken note of this and provided him the cushion to fail. This is an important tour in his career and I sincerely hope he never looks back from here.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    There was some comparison with erstwhile opener Akash Chopra as well and Vijay being used only to take the sheen off the new bal. Look he is in the process of learning how to bat in overseas condition and has done a fantastic job. He is basically an aggressive player and has curbed his instinct to see off the new ball and that should be the way. It is too early to pass any judgement. He will be touring NZ in the coming days and will await further test there with their selector already requesting for green tracks. Leaving the ball is equally important as to playing shots in test cricket especially as an opener. It is not a cake walk. Ask Gavasker who played the patient game against the WI greats.l

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    I think it was a very attractive innings. Both Vijay and Pujara were suoerb

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    @TRAM - Whilst Dravid did average under 30 in South Africa, Tendulkar's average there has been around 45 - which includes a few epic centuries against the likes of Steyn and Donald at their best. So I am not sure what you are talking about.

  • POSTED BY on | December 27, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    Vijay does have a 0 or a hundred kind of a career so far.. Much like Wasim Jaffer.. Despite scoring those doubles and big hundreds, Jaffer still managed to score just over 35 per test innings.. But we need to give credit where it is due.. Vijay is the best opener in India at the moment.. Is he the best we have produced?? No.. Is he the worst?? Not by a long shot.. Shikhar Dhawan for all the runs he scored on flat pitches, yes one day games are played on flatter pitches all over the world, he seems to be struggling with how to play the short ball.. I would certainly drop Dhawan and if possible Rohit and play Gambhir and Ashwin in their places respectively.. I would either play a fourth fast bowler or a leggie depending on where we play.. If this were a four mtch tour we can certainly say that this would be a career threatening tour for both Dhawan and Rohit..

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | December 27, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    It was good to see Vijay rising to the occasion & contributing for the second time in a row. He played a disciplined innings not technically sound like Pujara's but very productive contribution of 91 out of 181. As he gains in confidence he can become another guy who is fond of 150 run innings. Hopefully Pujara will stay & carry his bat thru' the innings as he is capable of. That should be the target for these 2 on Day 2. Unfortunately bad light robbed India of at least 100 runs- especially with these set batsmen.They will have to start afresh tomorrow & carry on from where they left. I do hope India compile a total in the range of 600- as they did in the Oval test in 2007.While pujara & Vijay played disciplined & patient knocks, Dhawan once again showed his impatience on the ball outside the off stump. Dhawan will follow Gambhir into oblivion if he does not curb that poke shot. There are at least 4 openers awaiting their chance. Good Luck Pujara & Vijay in compiling Tons on Day 2.

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | December 27, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    This kind of innings is an aberration- soon he will be back to being what he is- a very mediocre player with lots of luck. Just imagine how he figures in the Indian team- if one lists the first twenty domestic batsmen, he would be nowhere in the list, but he has been a choice among the first six for the past couple of years. I guess one shouldnt speak bad of him, now that he has finally performed. But the blindness of his regional supporters is fairly irritating.

  • POSTED BY Srihari.Cricinfo on | December 27, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Player from south india? Ypu will be critisised even if you are playing well! Common guys, he is playing a pivotal innings here & infact his solid stand has made it India's day! Just because he was beaten by a few deliveries, its wrong to write him off! Dhawan is just getting starts & wasting them, but Vijay has constantly improved his graph in this tour! 6,39,91* ! Back him to go on & score a career best here!

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | December 27, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    the qualities you need to survive in SA as an IND test opener are: the ability to defend against fast bowling on a fast pitch (though durban is slower than some pitches like mohali in IND!), knowing how to duck bouncers *and* drop your wrists, knowing precisely where your off stump is when the ball is pitched fuller, having the discipline to leave shorter balls on length (which sail *over* the stumps) when you know you can trust the bounce, did i mention being disciplined outside the off stump? ...and when the bowlers bowl straight and fuller, or if they err in line and give you width, cash in like you do in IND, the latter only after the ball gets older and slows down a bit and doesn't move around as much! oh, and run like a bunny, and try to watch as much action as possible from the non-striker's end!!! :)

    vijay does all of these things very well! he even has so-o-o much time (especially at durban!) that he looks insouciant when playing some drives! what more does the author want?!?

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | December 26, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    The article suggests that Vijay is not a long term prospect. It is not an article on how well Vijay has played. It is an article on why Vijay was successful in this match - Becaue of a South Indian pitch, according to the author. If the wickets crumbled, like in many India's tour in the past, there would have been no talk of a South Indian pitch. It is unfair to comment about Vijay not being successful in ODI's. The selectors/captain give him a chance once in a blue moon and expect him to perform. Even this test opener position, he would have lost to a make-shift Rehane or somebody else, if he didn't score those two centuries against the aussies. He gave no chance to the selectors or the captain to drop him. He reminds me off the struggle of VVS to stay in the side. If it wasn't for that Sydney century in 2000 and then again that double century in Calcutta, we wouldn't have witnessed the VVS the way we have. Vijay is another VVS in the making.

  • POSTED BY NumeroUnoAnalyst on | December 26, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    Very well said Nppinte... The first and foremost job of opener is to see through new ball and the next is to score big runs....in the 1st test vijay did his primary job, playing 15 overs and 33 overs respectively in each innings...without which kohli's job wud not be easy...without taking any credit from kohli's who was told having weakness against fast bowling by his royal challenger coach....vijay has saved him from exposing to new hard ball and kohli's had come blazing all guns...in the 2nd test vijay is scoring big too....it is an appreciable effort...please show some appreciation....after the 1st test heroics...kohli n pujara were taken to top of the world as if they had a lifetime achievement by these writers...and they find it hard to write about vijay which is silly....

  • POSTED BY usernames on | December 26, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Vijay has been fantastic all this year. All the "doubts" about him were unfounded, based on perceptions of people which themselves are based on nothing. He's been absolutely crucial to India winning the Australia series and has played a vital role here, too. He looks sublime when he cuts or plays the on drive.

    The most important thing is that he's willing to take his time to score runs: India of 2011-12 would have thrown away their wickets even on belters. The pitches England and Australia gave us were the same where they scored 500s regularly and we were folding for 160 due to our batsmen not wanting to bide time.

    Pujara is all class. There's nothing that needs to be said about him. Let's hope he carries this form forever, even if that's a little greedy of me. :D

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | December 26, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    Agree with @TRAM - Now that Murli is scoring lot of runs in SA (against some people's wishes) we have to talk about how ugly his batting looks. It is as if the Dravids and SRT's batted fluently in SA. I cant forget Dravid's & SRT's panicked faces ever. I have no doubt in my mind if the team that toured England and Australia in 2012 was still playing, this would have been another white wash. Kudos to Sandeep Patil for getting rid of those non-performers.

  • POSTED BY cricketavinash on | December 26, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    my god....this guy is making leaving balls outside off really easy.....and every cricket fan would agree to the fact that it is not that easy to do and this what india missed in england and south africa and still the author says he is ugly..........my say is......let him be ugly(in author's view) but i wish he plays this way for the rest of his career...and have the author say when his career gets over......

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | December 26, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    Vijay is a player with immense patience. I must adnit I doubted his test credentials though I did see some glimpses of strokeplay in some of his IPL innings.

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | December 26, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    oh, ya, now that he is scoring lot of runs in SA (against some people's wishes) we have to talk about how ugly his batting looks. It is as if the Dravids and SRT's batted fluently in SA. I cant forget Dravid's & SRT's panicked faces ever. They were pathetically beaten so many times in their innings as well.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    I guess Vijay's batting deserves more credit than what the writer gives him. But you can't expect much unless its a mumbaikar. Vijay played a perfect test innings and hope he gets a hundred tomorrow!

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | December 26, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    The bottom-line in Vijay's innings is discipline and patience. He played his role to perfection. Is he the best technically? No. Did he play and miss? Yes. But his ability to put it back and go on to shoulder arms the very next delivery was compelling to watch. Very well compiled innings against the world no.1, no.2 pacers and the tall Morkel. What more do you need? Did he look ugly at Wanderers? Yes. But so did Dravid, Sachin and VVS on many occasions. Did Vijay play his role at Wanderers? Yes. So, no need to complain as long as he is setting it up for the team with his own role and within his own limitations. And he converted his Wanderers 30+ into a 90+ here. Can't wait for him to get to century and see how he canes this SA attack ala t20 style. And Pujara, come on, it's kind of getting boring now to talk about him. He is Rahul Dravid v2.0. Period! In a class of his own by a distance. He is the best batsman on the planet right now.

  • POSTED BY Nppinte on | December 26, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Its early days in this match.. I hope he gets his hundred, and continues scoring big as he usually does. He always had the ability to bat long. People will say that this innings is a revelation, but this is his natural game and why he was first selected to play for India. In almost all his hundreds (even Ranji trophy ones), he has batted sessions and takes his time- almost as if he derives more pleasure from his defense than any of those shots he plays. I hope people now start looking beyond IPL and criticizing his technique.

    An opener must be judged as much by the runs he scores as the balls he soaks up in the first few sessions. Every ball defended or left increases the chances that numbers 3-6 cash in on an older ball. Even Dravid benefited from this- no coincidence that his 5 year purple patch occurred when the Indian openers delivered.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    He should be retained and should open with rahane if there is 2nd innings

  • POSTED BY starincricket on | December 26, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    Very Good Performance by Vijay.. Great patience and character he showed with temper in check.. Way 2 go..

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Well played VJ.. i watched this match and felt they played really well .... Like our famous dravid saying play out sessions .. the more sessions you dominate in a test the less chances of losing a test ... you guys dominated the whole first day... Kudos.. great job... After watching the one day series i was thinking each test would be a 3 day affair.. thanks for returning the bang for my buck... Paid to watch these matches online :).

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | December 26, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    My Goodness! Apart from few play and misses, Vijay looked very comfortable. The final few overs from Steyn when he bowled from round the wicket, I was sure he wasn't troubled for a single ball. Surely, the author is exaggerating and Vijay didn't struggle as much as the author pointing here.

  • POSTED BY silentstand on | December 26, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    I'm highly impressed with India's batsmen so far knew kohli and pujara were class but vijay looks solid as well

  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 26, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    nice comments ... hope vijay develops into the same mould as that of smith for SA... of course he can be more elegant than smith when he s in form but if he can achieve at least 75% of what smith did India would be greatly served !

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  • POSTED BY android_user on | December 26, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    nice comments ... hope vijay develops into the same mould as that of smith for SA... of course he can be more elegant than smith when he s in form but if he can achieve at least 75% of what smith did India would be greatly served !

  • POSTED BY silentstand on | December 26, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    I'm highly impressed with India's batsmen so far knew kohli and pujara were class but vijay looks solid as well

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | December 26, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    My Goodness! Apart from few play and misses, Vijay looked very comfortable. The final few overs from Steyn when he bowled from round the wicket, I was sure he wasn't troubled for a single ball. Surely, the author is exaggerating and Vijay didn't struggle as much as the author pointing here.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Well played VJ.. i watched this match and felt they played really well .... Like our famous dravid saying play out sessions .. the more sessions you dominate in a test the less chances of losing a test ... you guys dominated the whole first day... Kudos.. great job... After watching the one day series i was thinking each test would be a 3 day affair.. thanks for returning the bang for my buck... Paid to watch these matches online :).

  • POSTED BY starincricket on | December 26, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    Very Good Performance by Vijay.. Great patience and character he showed with temper in check.. Way 2 go..

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    He should be retained and should open with rahane if there is 2nd innings

  • POSTED BY Nppinte on | December 26, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Its early days in this match.. I hope he gets his hundred, and continues scoring big as he usually does. He always had the ability to bat long. People will say that this innings is a revelation, but this is his natural game and why he was first selected to play for India. In almost all his hundreds (even Ranji trophy ones), he has batted sessions and takes his time- almost as if he derives more pleasure from his defense than any of those shots he plays. I hope people now start looking beyond IPL and criticizing his technique.

    An opener must be judged as much by the runs he scores as the balls he soaks up in the first few sessions. Every ball defended or left increases the chances that numbers 3-6 cash in on an older ball. Even Dravid benefited from this- no coincidence that his 5 year purple patch occurred when the Indian openers delivered.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | December 26, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    The bottom-line in Vijay's innings is discipline and patience. He played his role to perfection. Is he the best technically? No. Did he play and miss? Yes. But his ability to put it back and go on to shoulder arms the very next delivery was compelling to watch. Very well compiled innings against the world no.1, no.2 pacers and the tall Morkel. What more do you need? Did he look ugly at Wanderers? Yes. But so did Dravid, Sachin and VVS on many occasions. Did Vijay play his role at Wanderers? Yes. So, no need to complain as long as he is setting it up for the team with his own role and within his own limitations. And he converted his Wanderers 30+ into a 90+ here. Can't wait for him to get to century and see how he canes this SA attack ala t20 style. And Pujara, come on, it's kind of getting boring now to talk about him. He is Rahul Dravid v2.0. Period! In a class of his own by a distance. He is the best batsman on the planet right now.

  • POSTED BY on | December 26, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    I guess Vijay's batting deserves more credit than what the writer gives him. But you can't expect much unless its a mumbaikar. Vijay played a perfect test innings and hope he gets a hundred tomorrow!

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | December 26, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    oh, ya, now that he is scoring lot of runs in SA (against some people's wishes) we have to talk about how ugly his batting looks. It is as if the Dravids and SRT's batted fluently in SA. I cant forget Dravid's & SRT's panicked faces ever. They were pathetically beaten so many times in their innings as well.