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Murali Vijay's 55 only face saver for Team India on Day 2

Vijay's performance was the only solace for India on day two as he passed fifty for the fourth time in five innings to keep India's hopes alive in the match.

Vivek Mishra |Cricketnext |December 27, 2014, 5:09 PM IST
Murali Vijay's 55 only face saver for Team India on Day 2

When Australia finished 259 for five at stumps on day one at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it felt that the Indian team might have learned their lessons from the first two defeats.

Both teams were looking even as the Indian bowlers made the hosts fight for every run on the Boxing Day.

But all the hypothesis were put to rest of the second day of the Test match as Steven Smith made a mockery of the toothless Indian attack to leave the visitors with a massive task to stay alive in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series on Saturday.

The day two belonged to Australia as the in-form captain Smith made the MCG his backyard and scored an imperious 192 to end India's hopes of restricting the hosts to a below par total.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin scored a morale boosting fifty while Ryan Harris' blistering 74-run knock once again highlighted Indian bowlers inability to finish the tail - a far cry for Team India in the overseas.

Murali Vijay's performance was the only solace for India on day two as he passed fifty for the fourth time in five innings to keep India's hopes alive in the match.

His unbeaten 55 of 102 balls helped India close day two at 108 for one. Vijay is only behind Smith in terms of scoring runs in this series with 378.

In his last four innings, Vijay has scored a century and three half-centuries.

Vijay showed patience and his judgement to leave the balls outside the offstump was impressive. He didn't play unnecessary shots and showed the grit which was once again missing in his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan, who wasted another chance to convert a good start into a big score.

Mohammed Shami, who was the leading wicket taker for the visitors, was also the most inconsistent bowler in last two days, giving away some easy runs and putting question marks on his ability to play Test cricket. While India's most experienced pacer Ishant Sharma looked tired and was returned empty handed on the second day as well. Indian bowlers allowed Australia's last five wickets to add 314 runs to their overnight total, repeating the mistakes which cost them the Brisbane Test.

Smith fell eight runs short of his maiden double-century but he showed us that the added responsibility of captaincy has nothing to with individual performances.

Smith's 192 was his third hundred in last three Test matches and seventh of his career. His knock came off 305 balls with 15 boundaries and two sixes. Smith has now scored 567 runs at an staggering average of 189 in this series and is the first Australian to score centuries in his first two Tests as captain.

"It was just about being patient and letting the bowlers keep coming back and getting tired. I think we were able to do that and reap the rewards late yesterday and today as well," said Smith.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
see more