India batsman Murali Vijay has agreed to join Essex for the rest of the English side’s County Championship campaign.

Vijay played India’s first two Tests on their current tour of England, but was dropped after struggling in their heavy defeat at Lord’s.

The 34-year-old opener was twice dismissed without scoring in that match, but caught Essex’s attention with a half-century against his new club during a tour match in July.

Vijay joins Essex as a replacement overseas player following the exit of Australian seamer Peter Siddle.

Essex have three games left in the County Championship’s First Division and are currently in fourth place.

“We’re delighted that Murali has chosen to come here, he’s a great batsman who can score runs at the top of the order,” Essex head Coach Anthony McGrath said.

“Vijay’s run-scoring ability means he can be the difference-maker in a game, and that skill is something we were looking to bring in towards the end of the season and something that we’re excited about.”

Vijay added: “I was here with the India side about a month ago and saw first-hand just how good the crowd is. I can’t wait to play for Essex and hopefully win some matches.”