Chennai: Young Karun Nair today announced his arrival at the world stage with an unforgettable triple ton (303 not out) as India broke a deluge of records en route their highest ever Test total of 759 for 7 against England on the penultimate day of the fifth and final match here.
It was a day that solely belongs to the 25-year-old Karun, who become the second Indian batsman after the legendary Virender Sehwag (twice) to hit a triple hundred in Test match cricket.
During his marathon 381-ball innings, Karun hit 32 boundaries and four huge sixes as India took a huge lead of 282 runs before England finished the day at 12 for no loss.
With 90 overs remaining on the final day and a reasonably good track to bat on, England will fancy their chance of at least saving the Test.
Karun, who has been touted as one of the next big hopes in Indian cricket for his prolific scores in domestic cricket, showed just why he is highly rated.
Karun scored 232 runs in a single day and enthralled a select Chepauk crowd with shots all around the ground. The best part was his ability to use the entire 360 degree of the ground hitting his shots.
Equally adept at front and backfoot play, he was quick to use his feet against England spinners with their premier tweaker Moeen Ali returning with dismal figures of 1/190 in 41 overs while Liam Dawson (2/129) and Adil Rashid (1/153) also proved to be expensive.
Call it poetic justice, it was another identical loopy leg break from Adil Rashid — a throwback to what he had exactly bowled to KL Rahul yesterday when the opener was on the cusp of double hundred.
Rahul was unlucky but Karun’s lazy cut shot escaped a diving Alastair Cook as the entire Indian dressing room led by captain Virat Kohli gave Karun a standing ovation.
It is an irony that this chance that Karun got was a lucky one considering he was not in line for a Test debut during the series.
He was picked for the series after Rohit Sharma suffered hamstring injury.
Then a freak injury for Rahul opened the Test ‘door’ for Karun in Mohali where he was unfortunately run-out.
Once Rahul was fit in Mumbai, Karun was expected to sit out but this time it was Ajinkya Rahane, who was ruled out due to a finger fracture.
Karun didn’t get too many there also but Rahane being ousted meant that he got another opportunity.
Those who have seen him bat in domestic cricket were always sure that he would succeed as no one Indian player has scored more runs in first-class cricket in past three seasons (total) than the stockily built Karun.
The triple hundred will surely increase positive ‘problems’ for Kohli and coach Anil Kumble as they will have to take a tough call once a fit Rahane is back in the scheme of things against Australia.