Sydney: Indian opener Murali Vijay feels his game will flourish on the bouncy pitches in Australia after scoring a fine 129 on the fourth and final day of the only warm-up tie against Cricket Australia XI here on Saturday.
Vijay, who struggled in the Test series against England before being dropped from the India squad, hit 16 fours and five sixes en route to his hundred.
“It was good to get some practice hitting over the boundary. I just took the chances which came my way. I wanted to be in a positive frame of mind since I knew that opportunities will be there. I have been working hard on my game and fitness, and am hoping to contribute in this series,” Vijay told reporters.
Vijay posted a 109-run stand with fellow opener Lokesh Rahul, who returned to form with a 62. The duo gave the Indian think tank something to cheer about after first-choice opener Prithvi Shaw got ruled out of the first Test in Adelaide due to an ankle injury.
“I am ready (after playing county cricket, tour matches in New Zealand and Australia). I just want to go out there, contribute and give a good start to my team. I have always been aiming for that and nothing is different this time,” Vijay said.
Vijay said he was excited about playing Test cricket on Australian soil again and is aiming to reproduce the good form he had displayed during the series here in 2014.
Asserting that he share a good coordination with Rahul since both of them hail from the same part of India, Vijay hoped that the duo will be able to carry their current momentum into the first Test.
“I like to play on the back foot so Australian conditions suit my game. You get good bounce in Australia, so you can play your shots,” he said.
The four-day match ended in a draw after the CA XI made a mammoth 544 in reply to the visitor’s first innings 358.
The big total from the home batsmen was a reality check for India’s bowlers, who failed to impress.
Pacemen Umesh Yadav (1-113) and Ishant Sharma (1-73), and chief spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (2-122) were all expensive, but they at least got plenty of valuable practice.
Little-known Harry Nielsen was a thorn in their side, coming in at number six to hit exactly 100. It took skipper and very occasional bowler Virat Kohli to dismiss him.
Three other batsmen — D’Arcy Short, Aaron Hardie and Max Bryant — made half centuries.