Murali VijayWhen Vijay departed at 99 in the Adelaide test, Kohli lost the only able partner in his bold move to force victory against Australia. Vijay had been game with Kohli as the two batsmen brought India to the very threshold of defying the Australian bowlers on the final day of the first test match. That was a pressure situation and Vijay fell in meeting a heavy demand made on him. In Brisbane this morning, Vijay had no such problems as didn’t have chase any targets. Australia introduced a new pace bowler to the world today with Josh Hazlewood making his test debut. He bowled creditably for his first appearance in test and ended the day with 2 scalps, one of which was the prize wicket of Virat Kohli. But Vijay found a method of batting that revolved around leaving the away swinging balls and collecting runs from pushing and prodding. To his advantage, the Brisbane weather resembled tropical conditions in Chennai, with which Vijay has had the exposure from his childhood. Perhaps other Indian batsmen also benefitted from the stifling heat in Brisbane as they went about their jobs after India won the toss and elected to bat. But while India didn’t have any problems with the weather, it was a hard toil for the Australian fielders, who had to bear the brunt of Brisbane’s baffling heat. Slowly and steadily, Vijay batted nearly all day and he was the fourth man out at 261. After that, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma have already added 50 runs as India ended Day one at 311/4.

While MS Dhoni returned to the Indian squad, Australia had a new captain for the Brisbane test. In the absence of Michael Clarke, Steven Smith took the reins of leadership. However, he lost the toss in the morning as Dhoni got lucky with the flip of the coin. For the second test, India had three new players. Apart from captain Dhoni, who replaced Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin and Umesh Yadav came for Karn Sharma and Mohammed Shami. Australia also had three changes in their team as Shaun Marsh, Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc were included for Michael Clarke and Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. India opted to bat first and did well to put up 56 runs for the first wicket before Dhawan lost his patience and slashed at a wide and short delivery. Playing away from his body he only succeeded in getting a top edge to the keeper. In the next over from Mitchell Johnson, Vijay was dropped by Shaun Marsh at gully, when on 36. At lunch time India’s score was 89/1.

After lunch, Vijay completed his 50 but Pujara was unlucky to be given out, when India had reached 100. It was a poor umpiring decision since the delivery from Hazelwood had only scraped his helmet but umpire Ian Gould thought otherwise. In any case, it was the first test wicket for the debutant bowler. In walked Virat Kohli but he was content in playing a supporting role for Vijay. Hazelwood earned another wicket, when Kohli tried to cut a short ball that had an extra bounce. As Kohli missed, the top edge was easily held by the keeper. Rahane joined Vijay and looked compact as he shaped to play. The two batsmen settled down to play without taking any undue risks. Vijay completed his deserved century in the 56th over bowled by Shane Watson striking two successive boundaries. He probably didn’t want to hang around with the 90+ score for too long after the misery he faced at Adelaide. Soon afterwards, he was dropped again by Shaun Marsh in the covers and it was the unlucky Johnson, who suffered yet again. After that Vijay put his head down and played more sensibly. The third wicket stand had reaped 124 runs, when Vijay finally departed. Lyon bowled one delivery that had an extra flight and as Vijay stepped out to hit him out of the ground, he was beaten in air. Haddin caught him but he also had the time to affect the easiest of stumping dismissals. Rohit Sharma joined Rahane and the two carried the day for India, remaining unseparated until the end of day’s play with the India score reading 311/4. Interestingly all four batsmen were caught behind by Brad Haddin.