India batsman Murali Vijay displayed his return to form as he scored 129 runs in 132 balls on the fourth and final day of the practice Test against Cricket Australia XI on Saturday. The right-handed batsman stitched a 109-run partnership in the middle with KL Rahul, who also scored a fluent 62. Speaking to reporters after the match, the Chennai batsman said, “We (Rahul and him) come from the same part of India so we understand each other well. He is a good guy to bat with and he is fun. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum forward into the first Test.”
The right-handed batsman, who was dropped midway from the England Test series, said he enjoyed his stay in the practice match and is now looking forward to playing more Test cricket in Australia. “It was good to get some practice hitting over the boundary. I just took my chances and it came my way. I know opportunities are around the corner and wanted to be in a positive frame of mind. I have been working hard on my game and fitness, and I am looking forward to contributing in this series. Hopefully, I can do that,” he said.
The 34-year-old further added: “Basically I am ready (after playing county cricket, tour matches in New Zealand and Australia). I just want to go out there, contribute and give a good start for my team. I have always been aiming at that and nothing is different this time.”
Speaking about the bouncier pitches in Australia, Vijay said that that the wickets will suit his style of play. “Playing in Australia suits my game because I am a batsman who likes to play on the backfoot. Australia is the one place you get the bounce so you can play your shots coming from India and exploring shots that you have kept in your kit. I can get them out,” he said.
On being questioned about having any additional responsibility going into the Tour, the batsman said: “Once you play international cricket you have to have the responsibility, whether it is your first year or you have played four years ago. It is about taking responsibility and doing the job for the team. Age or years don’t matter here,” he said.
Vijay further added: “You have to work and find ways to work things out. If you are not part of the team, you have to make sure you keep your work ethics at the top level and once you get the chance you have to be ready to go. That was my basic fundamental after being dropped in England until now.”
Despite the hosts scoring 544 runs in the first innings, Vijay dismissed any concerns regarding India’s bowling department in the series. “Anybody can score runs. We play as per the wicket. We tried our best to get them out. But obviously, our intensity was not up to the mark because we were trying a few things and that’s going to happen in a practice game. That’s why we are here. We had prepared to play four days but missed out on one day. Our bowlers had a good stint today and hopefully they were able to prepare well,” he said.
“Everybody has got their practice done. We are now working on a few specifics and the whole idea of practice game is to get the feel going,” he signed off.
India and Australia will play the first Test in Adelaide starting from December 6, 2018.