“There was pressure on me, honestly. And so I am really happy with my performance today,” said a delighted M. Vijay, who scored an unbeaten 129 against Australia on the second day of the second cricket Test here on Sunday.
When asked if he had thought that his career was on the line after the twin failures in the first Test, he replied: “Yes, the failures — especially the second one in the first Test — really hit me hard. So, I was very determined to stay as long as possible and fight it out.”
“I am not going to say whether or not I have stabilised my place in the squad with this century. But, I am pleased with the way I batted today,” he said.
“And I am happy that I helped my team’s cause.”
“It is always good to be involved in such a big stand (he put on an unbroken 294-run partnership for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara). It doesn’t happen often and we really cherished it,” Vijay said.
“It was a nice wicket to bat on, with some assistance to spin. But it was not consistent. So you had to really apply yourself to play a big innings,” he said.
‘Not a lost cause yet’
Australian coach Mickey Arthur believes that the Test is not lost yet.
“We still have three days left in this Test match,” he said. “I am backing my batsmen to come good in the second innings. I have had a very tough chat with them today.
“I am worried about those getting 20s and 30s, and not about Wade or Clarke who was sublime so far in the series,” he said.
“Our bowlers worked tirelessly today. They had a good first session and the second session they started to dominate. But both the batters were outstanding today,” Arthur said.
On picking Xavier Doherty over Nathan Lyon, Arthur said Australia wanted a left-arm spinner who could turn the ball away, since the Indian top order had handled off-spin very well in the first Test.
“I thought Xavier went well today. He toiled manfully and went for about three an over, which was pretty decent,” he remarked.
“Glenn (Maxwell) was always going to be the other option. He didn’t do well today, but he is an unbelievable talent and, I am sure he would have learnt a lot by now,” he said.
After the fast bowlers had failed to make an impact on the second day, Arthur said he felt they would come good on day three.
Can the current Australian fast bowlers have success on Indian tracks?
“Yeah I think it is possible. We've got to remember that only four of our squad of 16 have come to India before. Today Peter Siddle, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke are the only guys who have played Test cricket in India,” he said.
“We spoke about this right at the start of the tour, and I told them that they don’t realise how hard it is going to be in India and to win here,” Arthur said. “I'm hoping our younger players pick up a lot of experience from this. They'll come back better and stronger.”
On the second day pitch, Arthur said: “We got a partnership going yesterday and suddenly all the demons that were supposedly there, went away. But it is still a wicket where you can lose wickets in clusters.
“It always is, in India. We’re hoping we see a bit of that tomorrow.”
Perhaps it was the tension with regard to the security arrangements that got the better of the Hyderabad Cricket Association which made a faux pas at the start of the second Test.
The local association forgot to pay tribute to victims of the bomb blast at Dilsukhnagar at the beginning of the match, and having realised its mistake, a two-minute silence was observed by the players of both teams before second day’s play.
“There was a lack of coordination because we were under stress to ensure that all security arrangements were foolproof,” admitted former Hyderabad opener and senior official M.V. Sridhar.