Murali Vijay now has four Test centuries. His first was in October, 2010. He made his Test debut way before that in 2008. Gambhir was unavailable for the 4th Test vs. Australia. (after scoring 206 in the 3rd )
Since then in over close to six years, Vijay has played 23 Tests. He was on call whenever Gambhir or his sis were getting married or Sehwag had hair raising duties.
Then the wins dried up, as did the runs off the Delhi Brothers’ bats, Vijay returned. This time though he scored two big back-to-back hundreds, 167 and 153. By the third Test, Sehwag exited too.
Vijay added 221 for the first wicket with Dhawan. It’s been over a year now since that series, and Vijay hasn’t left the opener’s slot. What he has done though is leave the ball rather well.
In spite of that, in the last 14 innings, he had not scored a century, just 2 50s. His three centuries were scored at home.
By then anyone watching Vijay knew he had enough patience to watch paint dry and by virtue of that stick it out as an opener.
But could he also score bigs runs overseas, or just Aakash Chopra one end – 6(42) vs South Africa was very Chopra-school. 39(94) in the same Test, somewhat better, but the score continued to tease.
97(227) in over five hours, India’s new old-style grinding machine opener had arrived.
And today, 122 (294) in over six and a half hours. Vijay has arrived in England.
His baggage though is a lot less than it was a year back.
It’s exactly a year back that Vijay played his last ODI. He did not open, Rohit and Dhawan did. Vijay didn’t even bat. Kohli, Raina and Karthik did before him.
And though Vijay made the Champions Trophy squad, he didn’t play a game. Nowadays he doesn’t even make the one day squad.
It must be such a relief for Vijay. To know he’s not in the reckoning for the World Cup. And he doesn’t have to do a thing to change that.
He can get back to what he does best, leave ball after ball after ball. They don’t call him Monk for nothing.
As for Gambhir, suspect he'll only return if Vijay decides to marry.