Murali Vijay smashed 108 off 160 balls, his ninth in Tests, while Cheteshwar Pujara scored 83 as India took control of the one-off Test against Bangladesh on Day 1 on Thursday at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium. The seasoned duo, who have been involved in some great partnerships over the years, started cautiously after the early departure of KL Rahul but as the innings wore on, made strokeplay look easy on a Hyderabad pitch that had very little assistance for the bowlers. Pujara fell in the post-lunch session, 17 runs short of what would have been his 11th ton.
Vijay reached the three-figure mark just after tea with skipper Virat Kohli unbeaten on 31 at the time. Soon after reaching his ton, Vijay was clean bowled Taijul Islam.
Vijay showcased his full range of shots as Bangladesh players were left to ponder on what could have been. The Indian opener was given a massive reprieve in the 18th over when he was just on 35. Mehedi Hasan Miraz had looked the likeliest to give Bangladesh their second breakthrough but Pujara-Vijay survived some close chances on his bowling.
But the Bangladeshi off-spinner had a golden chance to run out Vijay but fluffed his lines, failing to collect the ball and take down the stumps. Vijay, who was stranded in the middle of the pitch, made it back into the crease unharmed.
Vijay and Pujara have combined brilliantly in the past and their prolific run-scoring together once again put India in command in the only Test being played between these two sides. The Indian duo now have five century partnerships this season at home -- the most by any pair in an Indian season. Vijay Hazare and Rusi Modi had shared four such partnerships in 1948-49.
The last time India played a Test at this venue, Australia were the opponents in 2012-13, Vijay-Pujara had combined to add 370 runs and the duo's love affair with the venue continued as Bangladesh had to pay dearly for some poor fielding.
India were put on the backfoot, having lost Rahul on the fourth ball of the match. But Vijay and Pujara steadied India with some solid batting.
Vijay plundered 12 fours and a six in a near-perfect innings that put India in the driver's seat.