Some fine overseas performances since India toured South Africa in November 2013 have locked M Vijay a place at the top of the order. Amid that hard work, he has missed out on at least four centuries - 97 in Durban, 95 at Lord's, 99 in Adelaide and 80 in Sydney. He can occasionally get out softly too. In Southampton, he was too casual while converting a quick single and was run out for 12. Ensuring such silly mistakes were kept away seemed paramount in the way he played. His wariness increased, perhaps, because he felt he wasn't feeling perfectly comfortable in the middle.

"To be honest, I was not batting at my best," he said. "I just wanted to adjust to the surface and not give my wicket away. That was my priority. After a point, I knew the bowlers will get tired, and because they had four spinners, I wanted to cash in then."

So far during the only Test against Bangladesh in Fatullah, Vijay was cooped up in the dressing room for half a day. Then at the hotel for a lot longer. You can't do anything when rain hits. And not doing anything can be frustrating. On the third day, there were three delays, forcing teams to keep changing their plans. To amend tactics and targets. Through it all, Vijay's concentration hardly ever faded. Since he returned to Test cricket in February 2013, he has been India's leading run-scorer - 1729 in 20 matches with his 150 in Fatullah - and Vijay credited being in a "happy space" as the reason.

"Being an opener, all you've got to do is go in with an open mind and stick to your basics and believe in yourself," he said. "You've got to adjust your game according to the situation and the pitch, which is going to be crucial in my future. At the moment I'm in the right space, batting well and hitting the ball well. I'm in a happy space.

"Test cricket is all about good starts and from there you build your partnerships. Initially, I never go in with a plan telling myself that 'I have to play defensive or attacking cricket'. It's just the situation, and I just go with the flow of the game."

Vijay also mentioned that having a quick-scoring batsman like Shikhar Dhawan at the other end helped.

"If your partner is going well, you don't have to take that many risks, especially in these kinds of situations," he said. "The weather is playing a big role at the moment, so obviously when Shikhar was batting, all I wanted to do was play fewer shots and stabilise the innings so that he could be more comfortable doing whatever he was doing brilliantly"

Vijay's exploits in the Indian Premier League paint him as a strokemaker. But his priorities change as vividly as the uniform does. From blaring colour to serene white.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo