Karun Nair has converted his first international century into a triple-century in the ongoing fifth Test against England at Chennai to take India to its highest-ever Test score. Karun is now in an elite company of 2 - only the great Sir Garfield Sobers and Bob Simpson have achieved the unique feat.
Only an injury to Ajinkya Rahane forced the team management to retain the 25-year-old, and what could be a better way to respond!
Nair raced from his double century to a triple century as he appeared a man on a mission. Nerves were fraught when Nair was on his 290s - Virender Sehwag had taken India to their to-date highest-ever total of 729 in 2009 at Mumbai, but had fallen at 293. Earlier, KL Rahul had perished at 199 off Adil Rashid. When Rashid came on to bowl at Nair who was at 299, everyone hoped history would not repeat. With utter nonchalance, Nair reached the historic mark with a four - an uppish cut that evaded English captain Alastair Cook and raced to the boundary. Nair had made it from 200 to 300 in just 72 balls! India immediately declared at 759, 282 runs ahead of the English.
Earlier in the day, he had become only the third Indian batsman to convert a maiden century into a double century - after Dilip Sardesai (who converted his first to double-century against New Zealand at Brabourne Stadium) and Vinod Kambli (who achieved it scoring 224 against England at Wankhede).
Nair could have been out on his personal tally of 154 when he tried to play a reverse-sweep off Adil Rashid. The ball went on to the gloves of wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow but the replays and Ultra Edge suggested that it had deflected off the face of his bat, and England had no reviews left to challenge the decision of the on-field umpire.
Interestingly, Karun Nair made his debut against England in the third Test of the ongoing series but failed to score much. In the two Tests that he had played before this one, the Rajasthan-born Karnataka player could garner only 17 runs from two innings.
Karun Nair's 303 is also the highest for an Indian Number Five or below, going past former India Test skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 224 at the same venue in 2013. The only higher score at this venue is 319 by Virender Sehwag.