Stuttering starts remain a worry

  • Sanjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times, Chennai
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  • Updated: Feb 27, 2013 02:35 IST

Of all the India players on the field, the most frustrated by the stubborn resistance offered by Australia's last-wicket pair of Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyon would be openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay. The last-ditch effort made the hosts bat again. With the result a formality, the main point of interest was how the openers would cope.

When you are struggling for form, like Sehwag, or making a comeback, like Vijay, it can be an irritating exercise, you know you are on trial.

Flop Again
Their worst fears came true when they fell early again. The opening partnership was 11 and 16 runs in the two innings with Vijay making 10 and six and Sehwag being dismissed for two and 19. It continues the lack of success for the openers since the 2011 series against England.

There has been a question mark over local boy Vijay's mental discipline to succeed in Tests. In the last home series against Australia in 2010, he hit a century in Bangalore to raise expectations that he was overcoming that problem. But that has not been the case and the 139 at the Chinnaswamy remains Vijay's only 3-figure knock in 13 Tests.

He didn't do much to earn a recall and his selection is based on two big hundreds in the Irani Cup and the fact that he was the standby in the home series against England. After failing, he is again under pressure.

Sehwag's lack of big runs has affected the team for two seasons. The hundred in the first Test against England has followed nine innings without a fifty. Playing his first game with spectacles, he didn't look comfortable against the new ball on this spin-friendly track. 

Outplayed for most of the Test, their success with the new ball is one area where Australia will claim to have gained advantage, but skipper Dhoni declared he will back his openers for now. "If you look at the stats you may say that (it is a worry) but you need to give them a fair amount of time. Vijay has played this game and let's continue with him and give him some time and that comfort of saying he is wanted over here," said Dhoni.

"With Sehwag you say when he scores runs he looks fantastic. We need to give him more time. At times we are very critical about this, but we all know he is someone who can change the course of a game. So, let's go forward with that attitude."


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