The elements and finally a fiery Dale Steyn denied Murali Vijay a well-deserved fourth Test century. After making good use of the batting conditions at Kingsmead and showing some commendable patience and technique, Vijay missed his first overseas hundred by just three runs after the first session on Day 2 of the Durban Test was lost to the damp weather on Friday. Trying to fend off a Dale Steyn thunderbolt that lifted disconcertingly, the opener gloved the ball to wicket-keeper AB De Villiers, who took a smart catch diving to his left.
The 29-year-old Vijay was left stranded on 91 (India 181/1 after 61 overs) (SCORECARD) when bad light ended play early on Thursday. Vijay's first three centuries have come at home. He had scored back-to-back hundreds against Australia at Hyderabad (167) and Mohali (153) in March this year. His maiden century (139) also came against the Aussies in October 2010 in Bangalore. If Vijay had scored a century in Durban, he would have joined current teammates Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara as the only ones to have scored a hundred away from the sub-continent. Interestingly, Wasim Jaffer (116 at Cape Town in 2007) still remains the only Indian opener to score a Test century in South Africa.
Vijay validated Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to bat after winning the toss. (HIGHLIGHTS) Although India lost Shikhar Dhawan early (41/1 in the 14th over), Vijay handled the South African attack with patience. On a dry and firm Durban wicket, Vijay did not play a false stroke and capitalized on his front-foot drives to score most of his runs. He took 102 balls to score his fourth career 50 and 44 of those runs came off boundaries. Vijay's discipline to go behind the line of the ball and play close to his body helped against a swinging ball. (Vijay showed patience: Gavaskar)