India 312-2 at close, lead Sri Lanka by 107 runs

Murali Vijay & Cheteshwar Pujara run between the wickets during the day two of second Test between India and Sri Lanka at Nagpur | IANS

Opener Murali Vijay marked his return to Test cricket with a brilliant unbeaten half ton as India went to lunch comfortably placed at 97/1 on Day 2 of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium here on Saturday. The two batsmen put on 209 in just over three sessions before Vijay was caught at leg gully off Rangana Herath as Sri Lanka finally got a breakthrough. But the struggle for Sri Lanka was that the first change bowlers in both departments - Dasun Shanaka and Dilruwan Perera, who conceded 117 miserable runs in 21 overs - weren't able to cope, allowing the Indian batsmen a release from pressure. At the crease are now skipper Virat Kohli (54*) along with Pujara (121*).

From being India's first-choice opener before his injury-break, Murali Vijay has been relegated to third in the pecking order.

The right-handed opener gifted his wicket to the veteran left-arm spinner after mistiming his sweep on a full toss to short fine leg where Dilruwan Perera made no mistake. I like to take it as it comes. "I just wanted to contribute whenever I get an opportunity to play for India", said Vijay.

7 - Vijay and Pujara are one of only seven batting pairs in the history of Tests to have an average of over 70 (min 2,000 runs).

"Pujara also has a similar mindset as he likes to dig in deep and scrap it out in a situation with varied demands". Vijay square-drove the first ball of the morning and hit five more boundaries en route to his 16th half-century in Tests.

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"I feel as a professional you should always be ready whether you get a chance or not.it s hard but I am used to it by now", said Vijay. "You should be ready from inside, eying a chance, so whenever you get a chance you are not lacking on that aspect". It is hard and I am used to it by now. By that time, Vijay and Pujara had taken their partnership past the 200-mark and brought up the lead for India.

Two other players to have achieved the feat are Dean Elgar of South Africa (1097 in 11 Tests) and Lankan Dimuth Karunaratne (1000 in 12 Tests). His 183-ball innings was laced with nine boundaries.

Whether that materialises or not, Vijay's first aim was a win in Nagpur after Sri Lanka clung onto a draw in Kolkata.

"I think we are behind the game at the moment".

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