Murali Vijay says Pune pitch not to be blamed for India’s loss vs Australia

Opener Murali Vijay is positive that India will bounce back against Australia in the second Test in Bengaluru and promises the hosts will show improvement in fielding

cricket Updated: Mar 01, 2017 20:47 IST
Hindustan Times
cricket,Ind-Aus,India vs Australia
India opener Murali Vijay defended the Pune pitch saying cricketers need to play on such surfaces rather than on flat tracks. India lost the first Test in Pune vs Australia by 333 runs. (PTI)

A day after the wicket dished out for the first India-Australia Test in Pune was called poor by the game’s governing body ICC, India opener Murali Vijay said the pitch was not to be blamed for India’s drubbing.

Murali Vijay also called for better catching and fielding in Bengaluru and hoped India would come back strongly at the Australians.

Virat Kohli’s India crumbled twice for 105 and 107 at Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, going down to Australia by 333 runs.

The nature of the Pune track, which turned sharply from day one, prompted the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad to express concern over the quality of the pitch. However, it was on the same track that Australia skipper Steve Smith brought up his first Test century on Indian soil.

But speaking ahead of the second Test which begins in Bangalore on Saturday, Vijay resisted the temptation to blame the pitch for India’s meek showing in Pune which brought an end to a 19-match unbeaten run.

Challenging wicket

“I won’t say the Pune wicket was a poor wicket. It was a challenging wicket from ball one,” the Indian opening batsman told reporters.

“As cricketers we need to play on such wickets to test your ability rather than playing on flat tracks,” said Vijay, who registered scores of 10 and 2 in his two outings in Pune.

Sporting wicket in Bengaluru

Vijay, like many others, expected a sporting track at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium but insisted that he is not too bothered about the character of the wicket.

“Personally I don’t go into a match seeing the wicket. I go into the middle with an open mind and look to adapt according to the pitch conditions,” said Vijay.

Vijay said the team was keen on addressing key issues like dropped catches which allowed Australian skipper Steve Smith four lives during the batsman’s gritty century in the second innings.

Better catching

Smith’s 109 helped the tourists set India a daunting target of 441 and duly take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series between the two top sides.

“We had a chat about it (improving fielding) and we are working on few of the areas where we could have done much better in the last Test match,” said Vijay, who was among those who spilled a catch.

“We are looking forward to this game and hopefully we can pull off those catches.”

First Published: Mar 01, 2017 19:16 IST