Vijay pleased with contribution

India

Although his splendid knock ended three runs short of the century mark, Murali Vijay said that was still happy with what he had achieved at Kingsmead.

Although his splendid knock ended three runs short of the century mark, Murali Vijay said that was still happy with what he had achieved at Kingsmead.

He piled on 91 runs against South Africa on Boxing Day to give India the early advantage in the series decider in Durban, and was in a prime position to build a record innings.

Vijay would fall the next morning, when Dale Steyn took only his second wicket of the series in a display that would eventually level matters in the greater context of the match.

Still, Vijay came within inches of scoring his third century of the season and will undoubtedly be excited about the role he could still play in the second innings.

"Home or overseas, scoring runs makes me happy," said Vijay. "I am happy with the way I batted the whole day on day one and of course, it is disappointing that I couldn't make a century".

Having failed to make a lasting impression during the drawn Johannesburg Test, Vijay was eager to build on his overnight total, but as he said afterwards, conditions were tough and Steyn was at his best.

"When play started, I felt there was some kind of dew on the pitch or moisture, it was a little damp. The ball was bouncing a little more than yesterday," he explained.

"And the way Steyn bowled here, the way he gave it all, that is why he is almost the number one bowler in the world."

He said that scoring runs against the top-ranked team in world cricket is self-assuring and would not be told that the track was as dead as everyone thought it would be.

"This is not a flat pitch, it is a two-paced slow wicket. So it is difficult to score runs. I thought I batted well," the 29-year-old insisted.

Vijay shared a 157-run second-wicket partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara, but once they departed India were in all sorts of trouble as Steyn and Morne Morkel were on top of their game. The team was eventually bowled out for 334.

Asked whether the total would be enough under in these circumstances, Vijay hoped that India's bowlers would provide the same fireworks.

"We are disappointed about giving away the advantage. MS Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane had a little stint in the middle," he added.

"It was not easy for the new batsman coming in because Steyn was reversing the ball well. We should have taken the responsibility and gone through that session.

"Unfortunately, he bowled well and we got out. We did well enough to score 334, and hopefully we will pull it off."

South Africa were 82 without loss at stumps on day two, with Graeme Smith unbeaten on 35 alongside Alviro Petersen, who is on 46.

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