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by Chetan Narula Wednesday 17 December 2014
When a batsman is completely in the zone, he is oblivious to all else happening around him. That includes scoring heat and blazing sun, conditions under which the second Test started at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Murali Vijay scored a commanding 144 runs as India cantered to 311 for four on Steve Smith’s first day as captain of Australia.
"I wasn’t aware of how much I was batting on. I was just looking at the team score and batting," he said.
"Ajinkya (Rahane) was at the non-striker's end and he told me that I got a hundred, only then I realised. It’s good in a way that I didn’t want to see the score. I got out on 99 last time, and I knew the score then, and this time it made it up for it,” he added, referring to the first Test in Adelaide.
Australia were hit with a spate of injuries as Mitchell Marsh was ruled out of bowling again with an injured right hamstring, while Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood suffered intense cramps.
"Today it was really hot and it was testing us all. I could see the bowlers sulking out there and I thought a lot of people are getting tired. So I waited at the crease and made good use of it," said the centurion.
"It was more mentally challenging than mentally draining. There were a lot of suffering from the heat but when you are playing for your country, you have got to be equipped for this.
"I have worked hard on my fitness. You have got to do your stuff to the best of your ability. It was great that I could build a partnership with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane," he added.
It marks a successful year for Vijay personally especially, as the Indian team has travelled overseas all the way through. He has scored runs everywhere, in South Africa, England and now in Australia, missing out only in New Zealand.
"This is the first time I have played regular cricket overseas. You have got to have a plan to play at this level and I have my plans.
"I am just sticking to them and sticking as close as possible to the basics. At the moment it is helping me out.
"I didn’t have any specific plans to play in Australia and England, I just stuck to basics and things are happening for me at the moment. As an individual and as a team we can go forward from here," Vijay said.
Meanwhile, Australian coach Darren Lehmann praised his team for enduring a tough day.
"It was a hard day in terms of conditions. We had a few good periods with the ball, especially in the second session," said Lehmann.
"But in the end, we didn’t have a good third session. It is hard to put the ball in right areas when you have so many players pulling up due to cramps or injuries.
"Obviously the heat affected their skills and it was like a revolving door today. But these are excuses and we are better than that.
"Overall though we bowled pretty well. The first session was okay. We didn’t get our lengths right.
"Then the second session was very good. The third session was very poor and we were bowling too full and too wide.
"We went for 160 runs in 30-odd overs which is not what we are about. We have got to do better than that.
"But also, credit goes to India, they really played well. Hopefully we can back it up tomorrow and start with taking some quick wickets," he signed off.
© Cricket World 2014