Young Karun Nair on Monday 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 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.
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. 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.
Karun got some good support on Monday with Ravichandran Ashwin 967) adding 181 runs for the sixth wicket. Ashwin became the first Indian cricket, who has now scored more than 300 runs and taken in excess of 25 wickets in a series.
The 138-run seventh wicket stand with Ravindra Jadeja (51) also enabled Karun to carry on with his attacking mode.
All his four sixes were a treat. Against left-armer Dawson, he stepped out to loft straight. A rising delivery from Stuart Broad (2/80) was given the ramp shot treatment.
For the England team, it will be a series that their bowlers would like to forget in a hurry.
Their premier spinners conceded in excess of 150 plus runs and the pacers did not have anything to look forward to on a docile track.
Three dropped catches cost us 500 runs: Coach Bayliss
England coach Trevor Bayliss on Monday conceded that his team’s fielding has been below par and last three dropped catches in the ongoing Test against India cost them 500 runs. India broke a flurry of records en route their highest ever Test total of 759 for seven declared against England on the penultimate day of the fifth and final match here. “Our catching is still below par. I think the last three catches we dropped cost us 500 (runs). That’s disappointing. It is something that we should keep working on,” said Bayliss at the post match press conference.
“We are a team that hasn’t got a lot of natural athletes. We have got very good cricketers. We haven’t got lot of slippers (slip fielders). Across the board we just got to get better,” he added. Bayliss admitted England were just not in the game on Monday. “I think most of them have gone through days like that and probably won’t be the last time they’ll go through it. It’s never easy when it happens. You got to give credit to the Indian team and their batters, they played extremely well. We just weren’t in the game today(Monday),” he said.
Stating that this is the best batting pitch in this series, Bayliss said: “It’s a good wicket. The best we have had in this series. Look at times we struggled to bowl to the fields the captain had set. That just makes it very difficult. They have got some good batters who obviously play spin very well. In home conditions they can make it very difficult, which we saw today(Monday).” The coach said although England did not get desired results in the last seven Tests they had played in the sub-continent, the players never stopped trying.
It will take a couple of days to sink in, says emotional Karun
Life has changed in a matter of few hours for Karun Nair, India’s second triple centurion in Tests and the Bangalore boy admits that it will take some time to sink in.
“Everyone is being very nice to me. They have congratulated me. I think it will take a couple of days for myself to sink in. The dressing room atmosphere has always been really good and they have always backed me in whatever I have done,” Karun said.
Asked as to when he thought about getting to a triple century, Karun said it was only after he reached 280 that his partner Ravindra Jadeja started egging him on to reach the milestone.
“I think it never took place in my mind. Once after I crossed 250, the team management had certain plans of going after the bowling and declaring. So I think within the space of five overs, I got to 280-285, that is when I started thinking and Jaddu kept egging me on to not throw it away and get to 300 easily.”
The 25-year-old said that there were nerves during each of the milestones on 99, 199 and 299. “Obviously, there are some nerves. You can’t be thinking negative at that point. You just have to watch the ball and just get over that moment. You just have to feel that moment, being there.”
Karun said that he is currently overwhelmed by emotions which he is not being able to express. “There are a lot of things that is going in my mind that I want to do but at that moment, it just doesn’t come out. I think I will just have to get more hundreds for me to show emotion.”
Karun said that he feels sorry that his close buddy KL Rahul got out on 199. “Like he (Rahul) said we started playing cricket together. It’s just that we have been together since then. At every stage, if he has gone ahead I have caught up. Or if I have gone ahead, he has caught up. So I think that healthy rivalry is good. I feel bad for him that he did not get the double hundred but I think he will get one very soon.”
Crossing the century mark certainly took away a lot of pressure off him, he feels.
“I think it’s just playing normally. I think after 100 the pressure is off. You just go out there and play the shots that you can and you just look to hit the gaps. Once you cross 150, it is just playing freely like how you always do and just expressing yourself.”