Cricket

Murali Vijay stars as India punish Australia

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Murali Vijay struck his fifth Test century to give India command against Australia on day one of the second Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

The opener's classy 144 carried India to a dominant 311-4 as Steven Smith endured a difficult first day as a Test match captain. Ajinkya Rahane's unbeaten 75 kept India on track after Vijay's dismissal, accompanied by Rohit Sharma who ended the day 26 not out.

Returning Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat on a typically pacy wicket, which saw batting conditions gradually improve as the day wore on.

Ringing in the changes

Both sides made three changes, with injured captain Michael Clarke, Ryan Harris, and Peter Siddle making way for Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. For India, Dhoni, Umesh Yadav, and Ravichandran Ashwin came in for Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammed Shami and Karn Sharma respectively.

Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay started brightly for India, leading them to 56-0 in excess of four an over before Dhawan top edged a bouncy Mitchell Marsh delivery to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

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Dropped catch

One of the day's pivotal moments came in the next over when Shaun Marsh shelled a chance to remove Vijay at slip for 36, to the dismay of bowler Mitchell Johnson. After the scare, he and new batsman Cheteshwar Pujara consolidated, taking India to 89-1 at lunch. 

Hazlewood and Johnson quickly built pressure after the interval - conceding only 11 runs from eight overs - and earned a fortunate reward when umpire Ian Gould gave Pujara out caught when the ball clearly made contact with the helmet and not the bat. India's reluctance to use the Decision Review System (DRS) meant the dismissal could not be overturned. 

The double-centurion from the first Test, Virat Kohli, was caught out by a Hazlewood delivery with extra bounce, edging to Haddin making just 19. Rahane then joined Vijay as India moved to 150-3 at tea.

Dominating partnership

Batting with confidence, the pairing accumulated with ease, Vijay reaching his hundred with a square cover drive for four in the 56th over, dominating the partnership. India notched up to 200 four overs later, and scored their next 50 within the following 10, as the Australian bowlers were put to the sword.

Vijay finally fell to Nathan Lyon - an attempt to hit the spinner down the ground only finding Haddin's gloves. An assured Rahane made sure there was to be no collapse, registering his half-century as he and Rohit led India chancelessly to the close of play.

Heat wave

Only 83 overs were managed on a brutally hot day in Brisbane - seven short of the expected 90 - despite the extra 30 minutes of play in the evening session.

It was a testing day for the bowlers who struggled to fully exploit the bouncy conditions at the Gabba. Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2-44, but was forced to leave the ground late on. Mitchell Marsh and Lyon were the only other two to find success, while the other two Mitchell's, Johnson and Starc, each conceded four runs an over.

The second day's play will begin at 10am local time.

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Topics:
India cricket
MS Dhoni
Cricket
Australia cricket
Virat Kohli

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