Mumbai: Murali Vijay became only the third Indian opener to notch up a hundred at the Wankhede Stadium as the hosts batsmen dominated the morning session on the third day of the fourth cricket Test against England here today.
India were rocked by the second-ball dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara at his overnight score of 47 before Vijay and skipper Virat Kohli got involved in an unbroken third wicket partnership of 101 runs in 30.4 overs to guide India to 247 for two at lunch.
At the break, Vijay was unconquered on 124 after having batted for five and a half hours, faced 267 balls and struck three sixes and nine fours. Giving him company was captain Kohli who was on 44 not out after a two-hour stay during which he has hit five fours in 86 balls.
The hosts were 153 runs behind the tourists after commencing the day at the overnight 146 for one.
When Vijay, who had hit a 126 in first Test at Rajkot, reached his century, the eighth of his career, with a single, he joined the ranks of Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag to compile a hundred at this venue and the first in 14 years.
Sehwag had hit 147 against the West Indies in October 2002.
But much before the 32-year-old Vijay reached the milestone, he had lost his overnight partner Pujara after India had commenced the day 254 behind England’s total.
Pujara fell to the second ball of the morning from rookie pacer Jake Ball, shouldering arms to a ball that came in, and took his off stump. It appeared he had expected the ball to go over the stumps, but to his chagrin it struck the flap of his pad before crashing into the stump.
The dismissal of the in-form number 3 batsman at his overnight score of 47 also brought to an end the second wicket partnership of 107 between Pujara and Vijay.
But England’s hopes of making further inroads were belied as captain Kohli, in imperious form in the series from the opening Test, dug in from the first ball and increased the tempo of scoring with a string of three fours off Ball to force the tall pacer off the attack.
The Indian duo scored at a brisk pace with Vijay also looking for runs especially against off spinner Moeen Ali who was smacked by the opener for a six over the straight field.
During his knock today, Kohli went past 1000 runs to his kitty this calendar year in 11 matches. He also became the 14th Indian batsman, and the only one currently playing apart from Gautam Gambhir, to reach 4000 career runs in his 52nd Test with a pull shot off Ben Stokes for four.
Vijay slowed down after entering the 90s as he had failed to reach 100 thrice in the past. And finally he reached the landmark with a single off Moeen off the 231st ball he faced and it contained three sixes, all off spinners, and 8 fours.
Vijay was given out leg before 12 minutes before lunch, while playing a defensive forward push off leggie Adil Rashid.
The decision was reviewed and he was reinstated as the ball had taken the inside edge before striking the pad. Vijay was on 116 in a team score of 238 for 2 then. PTI
England 1st innings: 400 India: 247 for 2 in 83 overs (Murali Vijay 124 batting, Virat Kohli 44 batting; Jake Ball 1/18). PTI
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