There was controversy when Hanuma Vihari was selected in the team ahead of Karun Nair, not because he had to do anything with it, but because of the skewed selection pressure. There was pressure when he walked out to bat under lights when the ball was hooping around and the start was very jittery, but then Vihari stuck to his guns and carved out a maiden 50 on his test debut. There was a sense of calm to the way he batted and perhaps a glimpse into the future.
“Initially I felt the pressure to be honest, cloudy conditions and Stuart Broad and (James) Anderson bowling at you. Once I got in, it eased my nerves and it was an important partnership between me and Jadeja,” he said after day 3.
He conceded that there were nerves jangling around and this did not help him make good decisions when he started his innings, but then was thankful he had his captain at the other end to speak to.
“Initially, I had nerves. With that I wasn’t good with my decision-making. But having Virat at the other made my job a little easier I guess… Yesterday, I definitely had problems facing the incoming delivery, but Virat gave me some cues so that I could play it comfortably,” he said.
There was constant banter out there and Vihari almost succumbed to it when he tried to pull, not once but twice and got away with it.
Ben Stokes had a go at him, but Vihari did not hit back and was seen in conversation with Kohli and he concedes that his captain snapped back at Stokes.
“But my aggression is something which I want to do with the bat. Obviously, if it gets personal then I might say something back at him,” he said.
Vihari has been the mainstay for Andhra over the years and has faced many high-pressure scenarios and this is what helped him when his back was against the wall on day 2 and then again when India looked to stage a fightback on day 3.
“You face a lot of tough situations. So if you look at this match — I had a lot of experience. When I played for India ‘A’ too, I faced a lot of tough situations. I got used to those situations and I could handle them comfortably today,” he said.