Opener Murali Vijay made an impressive return to worldwide arena after eight months with a patient century as India comfortably reached 185 for one at tea against Sri Lanka on the second day of the second cricket Test, here today. One expected them to pose problems for Sri Lanka on a mostly lifeless wicket but for it to be so easy that they would put together 209 runs and bat almost the entire day came as a surprise.
Pujara, on 121, was batting alongside skipper Virat Kohli, on 54, at close of play.
Vijay had his share of luck on his individual score of 45 in the first session of play when he miscued a Dilruwan Perera delivery to mid-off which skipper Dinesh Chandimal, running back failed to grab. Murali Vijay began Day 2 with a pristine cover drive and spent rest of the day establishing his grace and class on the proceedings. Alongside Cheteshwar Pujara, Vijay put on a tenth century stand. By the time he took the second new ball, Lakmal had lost all sting and discipline. While Pujara's gradual acceleration continued, Kohli went faster than even Vijay had been.
"Definitely, any day I will take this (hundred)", said Vijay, who is competing with Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul for the opening position. Vijay carried on, picking the gaps to reach three figures in 187 balls - his previous Test century had come back in February against Bangladesh in Hyderabad. There was a scare when Vijay was beaten by Shanaka and Sri Lanka reviewed for caught behind, but replays suggested there was no nick.
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Vijay went ahead and drove on the up off the next ball too, but Dilruwan Perera couldn't latch onto it. Pujara ducked and inadvertantly cleared the field for Perera but the latter was perhaps mindful of the Indian batsman in the way and got distracted while diving in.
Vijay consumed 129 deliveries for his knock, laced with six hits to the fence.
The introduction of Shanaka brought two cover-driven boundaries for Vijay. By that time, Vijay and Pujara had taken their partnership past the 200-mark and brought up the lead for India.
The run-rate shot up and with Kohli looking in fine nick, Pujara worked towards his century without doing anything rash.