Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: The tale of Indian opening batsmen, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan provides a picture that depicts a contrasting scenario.
Both batsmen replaced the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in 2013 as India`s main openers and looked to continue the run-scoring formula which their predecessors had enjoyed successfully together over a long period of time.
For the swashbuckling Dhawan who had a dream start to his national career last year finds himself as a sorry figure on overseas conditions. His performances in England has been a forgetful affair so far. With just 79 runs in four innings Dhawan has looked a shadow of himself. With Gautam Gambhir waiting on the bench, Dhawan has given the onus to his Delhi teammate to replace him at the top of the order.
Dhawan looked in good knick on Saturday before he threw his wicket away. After a mediocre performance in South Africa, Dhawan looked good in New Zealand and his two substantial innings of 115 and 98 in that tour was noteworthy. Since then in both ODI`s and Tests Dhawan`s form has taken a hit.
On the other hand Murali Vijay who failed to replicate his touch abroad in India`s last two series against South Africa and New Zealand has developed his application in England. Vijay has been India`s best batsman on this tour and has taken the responsibility to utilise his presence on the pitch to the fullest.
The elegant Tamil Nadu batsman who scored 198 runs in the Test match at Nottingham, has presented a different side of him at Lord`s. In the first Test where he looked free flowing here he has taken the role of defending and has placed it to perfection. Lord`s pitch has assisted swing and there has also been uneven bounce and pace. He played his skin out at Lord`s in the second innings and he has looked matured as a Test batsman. Though the job hasn`t got over yet, Vijay will hope to make his hard work stand out and see India offer a resilient show.
English conditions are a stiff test as it grinds out a lot in a batsman and success here means a lot for them. With Vijay adapting to the conditions very well, Dhawan needs to raise himself and keep his place intact in the Test side.