Vijay, Ishant search for confidence

In the nets, it was a battle of equals between these two off-colour players.

After two tons against Australia, Vijay has had a poor run across formats.

The Indian team might be on a high after beating Australia for the first time in a bilateral ODI series at home since 1986, but two men whose confidence have hit rock bottom in recent times are Ishant Sharma and Murali Vijay.

After the highs of doing well in the Test series against Australia, Vijay has been woefully short of runs, even failing to turn the heat in domestic cricket. As for Ishant, he was taken to the cleaners by the Australian batsmen in the just concluded series, forcing the management to finally drop him for the last three ODIs.

And while there have been many a times when there have been interesting and intense battles between players from the same teams during training sessions, it was Vijay versus Ishant on Monday — a battle of equals considering their current plight.

With Vijay set to open the batting for India in the first Test, he was the first to pad up and hit the nets.

And while he generally looks pretty smooth with a bat in hand, he looked completely off-colour as he kept missing the line of the ball and looked edgy.

Even Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar forced him to remain at the crease. But all this while they failed to induce the edge and the man who finally did beat him completely and took the edge of his bat was none other than Ishant.

Running in hard, Ishant had been trying to induce an edge for quite some time, but somehow he wasn't able to.

Finally, he bowled one that pitched on off and held its line. With the decent pace that Ishant was generating, Vijay had no option but to edge it. In fact, coach Duncan Fletcher, who was standing behind the nets, unfolded his arms and clapped to boost Ishant's confidence. But sadly, that was the first and last time that Ishant managed to induce an edge as the rest of the batsmen played him with ease.

As for Vijay, he quietly went to the adjacent net and started taking throw downs.

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