Opener Murali Vijay made an impressive return to international arena after eight months with a solid half-century as India reached 97 for 1 at lunch against Sri Lanka on the second day of the second cricket Test, here today.
Currently India's best Test opener, Vijay looked hardly in any discomfort as he scored an undefeated 56 during the first session adding 90 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara (33 batting) for the unbroken second wicket stand.
India scored 86 runs without losing any wicket during the 31 out of 39 overs bowled during the morning session.
With the pitch not offering any assistance for the bowlers, the Sri Lankan attack looked pedestrian at best as the seasoned Indian duo scored runs easily without even taking any undue risks.
Vijay teed off with a glorious square drive off Eden Test hero Suranga Lakmal (0/22 in 11 overs), who was far from his best with conditions not aiding his kind of bowling.
For someone who plays the drive fluently, Vijay was time and again provided with loose half-volleys both outside the off-stump and on his legs for him to make full use.
The shot with which he brought up his 16th Test half- century was a picture perfect straight drive off Dasun Shanaka. In all Vijay hit six boundaries in 129 balls.
There is a lot of time at India's disposal and that's why the batsmen were in no hurry but still comfortably scored their runs.
Dinesh Chandimal's decision to bring in his spinners hardly yielded any different result as both the batsman looked comfortable reaching to the pitch of the deliveries nullifying any help that the tweakers could have possibly got off the pitch.
When Rangana Herath flighted one inviting Pujara to come out, he promptly did so by flicking it to the vacant mid- wicket boundary.
Pujara's straight drive off Lakmal was regal as he dispatched five to the fence in the 92 deliveries he faced so far.
Dilruwan Perera could hardly turn a ball as he went for 26 in four overs.
There wasn't a single wicket-taking delivery from the Lankan attack as they could hardly beat the bat.With no lateral movement on offer and the pitch offering reasonable good bounce and carry, strokeplay became relatively easier.
The fuller length deliveries did not seem to work for them while the trio of Lakmal, Shanaka (0/16 in 5 overs) and Lahiru Gamage (1/17 in 10 overs) did not have enough pace to trouble the Indian batsmen when they hit back of the length.