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Murali Vijay answers critics with stylish eighth hundred

India Today logo India Today 10-12-2016
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India opener Murali Vijay today scored his eighth hundred and second of the series on the third day of the fourth Test against England in Mumbai.

Vijay, who has been one of India's most consistent batsmen in the last two years, failed to get going after the brilliant 126 in the first Test in Rajkot.

With scores of 20 and 3 in Vizag and 12 and 0 in Moahli, doubts were being raised on Vijay's technique, especially against the short-pitched deliveries, prompting coach Anil Kumble to come to his defence.

"Vijay has been one of our most consistent batsmen in the last couple of years. He has started off the series very well with a 100 at Rajkot and yes, he has got out to similar deliveries, which probably you can start pinpointing as his weakness, but I don't think that's fair. He is someone we believe is just round the corner to get a big score," Kumble had said ahead of the Mumbai Test.

And just as Kumble said "a big knock was around the corner", the 32-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman answered the critics with a sublime century off 231 balls at the Wankhede Stadium, studded with eight fours and three sixes.

Vijay, along with Chesterwar Pujara, made a strong start in their reply to England's 400 all out on day two, reaching 146 for the loss of just one wicket by the close.

Vijay and Pujara put on 107 runs for the second wicket as batsmen enjoyed an easy, slow-turning wicket that offered no hope to seamers and some assistance to spinners.

England's spinners were not able to control the ball as well as their Indian counterparts did. India's spinners took all 10 English first innings wickets.

However, India were dealt with an early blow on day three when Jake Ball got rid of Pujara for 47 on just the second delivery of the day.

But Pujara's dismissal didn't deter Vijay from taking the attack to the opposition. Vijay displayed a cautious approach mixed with aggression, and brought up a fifty-plus stand with skipper Virat Kohli for the third wicket to lead India's charge as they look to seal the series in Mumbai.

The hosts lead the five-Test series 2-0.

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