Nair’s triple ton piles misery on England (Roundup)

Chennai, Dec 19 (IANS) Indian batsmen’s love affair with the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here continued as middle-order batsman Karun Nair on Monday became only the second Indian after former opener Virender Sehwag to slam a triple ton here.

Nair’s brilliant unbeaten 303 helped India declare their first innings at a mammoth 759/7 — their highest against any opponent — surpassing the previous best of 726/9 declared against Sri Lanka in 2009.

Meanwhile, England batted for five overs in their second essay to post 12/0 at stumps on the penultimate day of the fifth and final Test.

For the visitors, skipper Alastair Cook (3) and Keaton Jennings (9) were at the crease when the umpires dislodged the bails for the day.

Playing only his third Test, the 25-year-old Nair forged two major partnerships — 181 for the sixth wicket with Ravichandran Ashwin (67) and then 138 for the seventh wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (51) — to give the hosts a 282-run first inings lead.

The right-hander reached the landmark in the 191st over of India’s first innings off 381 balls — his run-spree was laced with 32 boundaries and four sixes.

Nair reached the milestone off the bowling of leg-spinner Adil Rashid when a misfield at point resulted in a boundary that brought up his triple-hundred, thereby helping Nair become the first Indian to turn his maiden hundred into a triple.

Nair became the third highest individual scorer by an Indian in Tests, after Sehwag, who heads the top scorer’s list with two triple-tons.

Sehwag scored 319 against South Africa here in Chennai in March 2008 and 309 vs Pakistan in March-April 2004 at Multan in Pakistan.

Resuming from his overnight score of 71, Nair looked in good control to score his maiden Test hundred in the morning session with a boundary off Ben Stokes behind point.

He then carried on to go past the 150-run mark in 240 balls and with Ashwin forged a 147-run unbeaten stand for the sixth wicket going into the tea break.

Coming back from the break, Ashwin became pacer Stuart Broad’s second victim of the innings but by then the local boy had added 181 runs with Nair.

Nair was then joined by all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who was at his aggressive best, sending the English bowlers to the leather-hunt at will.

This gave the Rajasthan-born Nair the liberty to score freely as he went on to score his double century off 306 balls after the tea session and continued frustrating the English bowlers before surviving a stumping chance four runs short of his 250.

Meanwhile, Jadeja smashed almost a run-a-ball 51 to provide the much-needed acceleration towards the end as he paired with Nair to amass 138 runs for the seventh wicket.

Immediately after crossing the 250-run mark, Nair went on the rampage, slamming five fours and two sixes to score the remaining 53 runs in just 33 deliveries as skipper Virat Kohli signalled the declaration of the innings.

After the declaration, the Karnataka batsman walked off the field to delirious applause. England players also shook hand with him, acknowledging the enormity of his feat.

With the feat, Nair also became the third on the highest maiden hundred in Tests after the West Indies’ Gary Sobers (365 not out) against Pakistan in 1958 and Australia’s Bob Simpson (311) vs England in 1964.

Nair’s feat also overshadowed the contribution of opener Lokesh Rahul (199), who forged a 152-run opening stand with senior wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel (71) to set the tone for India’s massive total.

For England, none of the bowlers looked threatening as pacer Stuart Broad and debutant left-arm-spinner Liam Dawson took two wickets each while Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid chipped in with one wicket apiece.