Murali Vijay moved on from his disappointing tour of England with an impressive debut for Essex. Playing his first game in the County Championship, the dumped India opener scored a battling fifty for Essex in the Division One match against Nottinghamshire on Monday.
On a day where bowlers made merry in favourable conditions, Vijay reached 50 from 89 balls. However, he could not convert it into a big one and fell to Lyndon James for 56. Vijay’s knock was studded with 9 boundaries.
Vijay who came to England after slamming a ton against Afghanistan found the going tough in bowler-friendly conditions. He began the series with scores of 20 and 6. And the team-management did not hesitate to drop him when he bagged a pair in the following game.
Released from the Test squad after the third Test, Vijay and Nick Browne gave the defending champions a solid start by adding 56 runs. Steven Mullaney broke the stand by accounting for Browne who scored 24.
Vijay would have departed soon when he was batting on 43. However, Ben Duckett missed a tough chance. But Essex soon found themselves in a soup after James dismissed Tom Westley and Daniel Fletcher in space of three deliveries. Mullaney then dismissed Ravi Bopara to pile more pressure on Essex. As a result, within the space of 11 balls Essex had slip from 93 for one to 102 for four.
16 runs later, James, making his first-class debut, struck again to remove Vijay and leave the game finely poised. Essex closed the day on 133 for 5.
Earlier, Essex bowled out Nottinghamshire for only 177 in 58.1 overs after the home side decided to bat first. Ben Slater top-scored for the home side with 33. At one stage it looked like the Notts would struggle to reach even 150 when they were reeling at 104 for 8. However, the lower-order added a further 73 to give some respectability to the total.
For Essex, medium pacer Jamie Porter was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 4/50.