Vijay’s opening gig a success
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In a particularly symbolic scene from the 2012 Academy Award-winning movie The Artist, silent film actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is on his way down a staircase when he crosses rising talkies star Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), who is coming up. The landing where they pass each other represents the brief meeting point of the two contrasting career trajectories.
As openers Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane walked out to resume the Rest of India innings at two for no loss on Saturday, their career paths appeared to have come to one such staircase. Vijay, having been India's first choice as the third opener for three seasons, is slipping out of the reckoning, a role that the fast-rising Rahane is close to making his own.
The 28-year-old Vijay's unbeaten 151 along with the 24-year-old Rahane's 81 and captain Cheteshwar Pujara's 78 on Day Two guided ROI to 328 for two - a lead of 75 runs. But the Tamil Nadu batsman will need to keep going on Sunday in order to arrest his fall, which has been perhaps as spectacular as his rise.
In 2008, he was drawn out of the Tamil Nadu Ranji team and shoehorned into the Test XI against Australia under fortuitous circumstances: to replace Gautam Gambhir who was banned for a match after he had elbowed Shane Watson. And he did himself no discredit by scoring 74 promising runs in two innings.
One year later against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, Vijay again replaced the prolific Gambhir — who had skipped the third match to attend his sister's wedding —and cemented this position by scoring 87 in a momentous win which put India atop the Test perch.
An aggressive batsman who can play a wide range of shots, Vijay extended his reputation beyond Tests as well, playing a key role in Chennai Super Kings rise to the top. Till date, he is the only Indian batsman to have scored two IPL centuries.
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