Opener Murali Vijay termed his century “special”, having found his mojo back after failures in the last four outings, and said he backed his instincts while batting in the ongoing fourth cricket Test against England.
Vijay struck 136 before skipper Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 147 enabled India to reach 451 for seven, extending their first-innings lead to 51 runs on the third day at the Wankhede Stadium.
“It is special because I started off well in this series and the next couple of matches I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play. I was getting out too early, I just came out in much more clearer mindset for this game and I wanted to back my instincts and play,” said the 32-year-old batman.
Asked if the break between the third and fourth Test helped, he responded in positive.
“Definitely, yes the break helped me and helped everybody else to go and rethink and come back better.”
Vijay had scored 126 in the first innings of the opening Test but made 3 and 20 in Visakhapatnam in the second and got out for 0 and 12 in the third game in Mohali.
Vijay asserted that India were in firm control of the game after taking a first-innings lead of 51.
“Yes, because any lead is gold on this wicket. During tea time we just thought of getting close to their target, but now the way (India captain) Virat (Kohli) and Jayant Yadav are batting, we are in a pretty good position,” Vijay told reporters after the end of day’s play when asked whether the hosts now held the upper hand.
The Tamil Nadu player called the Wankhede track good for Test cricket.
“It’s a very true wicket for Test format because everybody had to work (on) their game plans and got to be very clear in the mindset to deliver. Everybody, especially bowlers, had really got to work (on) their plans out and it was a fantastic wicket to play this game,” added Vijay who became only the third Indian opener after Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag to get a hundred at this venue.
Vijay, who struggled with the short balls in the second and third matches, did not look to be in any trouble in this Test.
“I did think about it because I was playing at the balls, which I should be leaving generally and there are a lot of other factors to it and I don’t want to reveal them. But the definite game plan is to back my core game and believe in that and come back fresh in this Test match, the way I wanted to play.”
Vijay said he played his natural game and attacked the English spinners, striking three sixes off them.
“Actually, my game plan is to attack the spinners, because I don’t want them to settle in one particular area where they find it comfortable. I just wanted to use my feet and use the depth of crease and play according to my game plan and it came out pretty well.
“They bowled pretty well in patches, but I personally thought myself and Virat played really well,” said Vijay.
He praised Kohli, with whom he shared a 116-run stand for the third wicket, saying the Indian captain is in prime form.
“He is improving every day, at the moment all I can say is he is batting in his prime, which is great for us, and hopefully he can continue it for a longer period of time.”
Vijay believed that the first four batsman in the Indian line-up understood each other’s game well.
“One good thing is we all understand each other’s game pretty well, the top four at least, so we know what we know exactly in the middle. Whatever situation is in front of us, we just need to stick to our game plan and work in pairs,” he said.
Vijay dedicated his knock to his close friend Srinath’s father, who passed away on the first day of the Test.