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Nair becomes 26th Test triple centurion

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India’s Karun Nair made a triple century to pummel an England side that must bat out the final day to avoid defeat in the fifth Test in Chennai.

Nair, playing in his third Test, made 303 not out to become only the second India batsman to make a triple century.  India eventually declared on 759-7 – their highest Test total and the highest made by anyone against England.

The tourists, who have already lost the series, survived five overs to close 12-0, still 270 behind. Their task on Tuesday should be helped be a surface that remains docile, but India’s skilful spinners are likely to extract much greater assistance than England’s.

Not only do England face an examination of their technique, but their mentality, determination and attitude on the final day of a gruelling tour.

“They’ve been flogged around, but that’s not the most difficult pitch to bat on,” said former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special. “There’s just scoreboard pressure, and the pressure of their minds.

“The key will be the first session. Every time a new batsman comes in, India will pressurise them – and it’s really only your own fault if you get out.”

India's Karun Nair plays a shot during the fourth day of the fifth Test against England in Chennai
India’s Karun Nair plays a shot during the fourth day of the fifth Test against England in Chennai

Nair grows into huge knock

Nair, resuming on 71 of India’s 391-4 overnight, initially continued with the uncertainty he showed on the fourth evening, edging Stuart Broad over the slips and struggling against the pace and bounce of Ben Stokes.

But after he reached his maiden century, the 25-year-old right-hander began to sparkle. Whereas the bulk of his first hundred runs were scored square of the wicket, Nair expanded into cover drives, sweeps of all kinds and audacious ramps over wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Dropped at slip by captain Alastair Cook on 34 off Jake Ball on Sunday, he was given an almost identical life by Joe Root off the same bowler on 217 and survived a stumping chance to Bairstow off Moeen Ali on 246.

He shared partnerships of 181 with Ravichandran Ashwin (67) and 138 with Ravindra Jadeja (51), the latter coming in a raucous late-evening charge towards his 300. Three of his four sixes came after he passed 200, the third century was made in only 75 balls and completed with a cut for four off Adil Rashid that was celebrated by a delirious Chennai crowd.

Nair’s numbers – the stats

·       Karun Nair made the third triple century by an India batsman, the other two belonging to Virender Sehwag.

·       He is the 26th man to make a triple century in Test cricket and the seventh different man to make 300 against England – Brian Lara and Sir Don Bradman each did it twice.

·       Nair is only third batsman to turn his maiden Test century into a triple hundred.

·       India made their highest score in a Test, beating the 726-9 declared made against Sri Lanka in 2009.

·       It is also the highest total made against England, beating the 751-5 by West Indies at Antigua in 2004.

·       India are only the second team to register a total of 400 or more in their first innings of every Test of a five-match series. Australia were the first against Pakistan in 1983-84. Australia also did it in a six-match series in the 1989 Ashes in England.

·       India are the fifth Test team to make 600 in consecutive innings. This is the second time England have conceded 600 in consecutive innings.

·       Ravichandran Ashwin now has 303 runs to go with his 28 wickets in the series. He is just the sixth player to do the double of 300 runs and 25 wickets and the first Indian.

‘The best knock of my life’ 

India triple centurion Karun Nair: “That’s the best knock of my life. I had to play differently depending on who was batting. They kept encouraging me and I want to thank them.

“The first hundred is always important and when I got that I didn’t feel any pressure and just played my shots. “The pitch is getting worse and for a new batsman it won’t be easy to play. Hopefully it will turn more tomorrow.” (BBC Sport)

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