Sat | Oct 21, 2017

India make strong start

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM
India's Murali Vijay (right) is congratulated by teammate Ajinkya Rahane after scoring a century on day one of the second cricket Test against Australia in Brisbane yesterday.-AP

BRISBANE, Australia (AP):Murali Vijay scored 144 and shared a century stand with Ajinkya Rahane as India's batsmen dictated terms to an Australian bowling attack that struggled in the heat and fell well short of expectations on the opening day of the second test on Wednesday.

Four days after losing eight wickets in the final session of a 48-run defeat in Adelaide, India dominated at the Gabba to reach 311-4 at stumps.

Rahane, who shared a run-a-minute, 124-run, fourth-wicket stand with Vijay, was unbeaten on 75, and Rohit Sharma was not out 26.

Australia's pace attack was expected to exploit the extra bounce and pace that are characteristic of pitches at the Gabba, where Australia hasn't lost since 1988, but the new-look line-up didn't get its length right and the fielding was substandard.

Vijay was dropped twice, on 36 and 102, both times by Shaun Marsh off Mitchell Johnson's bowling.

He made the most of his reprieves, equalling Sourav Ganguly's 144 in 2003 as the highest score by an Indian batsman in Brisbane. His fifth Test hundred followed two half centuries in Adelaide.

Shikhar Dhawan (24), Chete-shwar Pujara (18) and Virat Kohli (19) all made starts, but the complexion of the innings changed after tea, when Vijay and Rahane accelerated the scoring rate against a bowling attack showing signs of fatigue in hot and humid conditions, and missing allrounder Mitchell Marsh, who left the field with a hamstring injury two overs into the second session.

better equipped

They moved the total from 137-3 to 261 before Vijay stepped down the pitch to take on offspinner Nathan Lyon and got a feint edge to give wicketkeeper Brad Haddin his fourth catch of the innings. Vijay's 213-ball innings contained 22 boundaries, and helped India become the first foreign team in more than 50 years to post 300-plus on day one of a Test at the Gabba.

Vijay said India seemed to be better equipped to deal with the subtropical conditions, so he decided to ram home the advantage.