Nair on fire as India send records tumbling against England


Karun Nair produced a devastating performance to power India to their highest Test total as records were sent tumbling on day four of the fifth and final Test against England.

India had closed day three on 391-4 in response to England's 477, having suffered the agony of seeing KL Rahul miss out on double century, the opener falling on 199.

But Nair more than atoned for that heartbreak, showing utter contempt for a toothless England attack with a magnificent triple century, taking India beyond their previous Test best of 726 - set against Sri Lanka in 2009 - by lashing a four through the covers.

Nair then brought up his 300 with a cut shot for four, prompting a speedy declaration from captain Virat Kohli with India on 759-7, the highest Test total conceded by England.

The tourists were given five overs at the end of Monday's play in Chennai to survive, and reached stumps on 12-0, still 270 runs behind.

But India now have a full day with which to claim 10 wickets and extend the margin of victory in the series with a fourth win, following a day that will live long in the memory of Nair and those privileged to be in attendance at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

England's performance could place the future of Alastair Cook as Test captain under further scrutiny, but the visitors would have been hopeful of restricting India to a relatively small lead when Murali Vijay (29) was trapped lbw by Liam Dawson.

At that point India had added only a further 44 runs to their overnight total, but England's chances of making inroads into the hosts' line-up were ended by Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been a thorn in their side with both bat and ball throughout a tortuous series for the tourists.

Ashwin and Nair piled on 181 for the sixth wicket, Ashwin finally failing to Stuart Broad, but only after he had posted 67 and India had gone beyond the 600 mark.

However, Ashwin's exit did not spell the end of England's humiliation, as Nair found another more than capable partner in Ravindra Jadeja, who hit a quick-fire 51 off 55 balls to assist him in pushing India towards a scarcely believable milestone.

Yet Nair remained the headline act in a 381-ball exhibition, and it was only fitting that he was the one who brought up the new Test best by creaming an Adil Rashid (1-153) delivery to the rope.

Jadeja became Dawson's second victim in the penultimate over of India's innings, but five balls later Nair - whose previous high score in the longest format had been 13 - became only the second India Test batsman to surpass 300, following in the footsteps of Virender Sehwag.

Again, it was Rashid who was dispatched to the boundary as Nair got his just reward for a remarkable showcase of batting in which he profited significantly from the sweep shot, with an innings that saw him hit 32 boundaries and four maximums brought to a close immediately afterwards by Kohli's declaration, with the right-hander on 303 not out.

The subsequent defence displayed by Alastair Cook (10no) and Keaton Jennings (1no) served as a rather meek finale to a memorable day, but India will hope day five is a memorable encore in a series of utter dominance from the world's number one-ranked Test team.