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Day 3, Report
Karun Nair made history. Karnataka made merry. And Tamil Nadu were made to sweat buckets.
At the end of the third day's play in the Ranji Trophy 2014-15 final in Mumbai on Tuesday (March 10), the defending champions had opened up a yawning chasm between themselves and the challengers, ending on 618 for 7 for an out-of-sight lead of 484.
Of the 850 minutes the innings has lasted, Nair has been in the middle for 815. At the end of the day's play, he was still unconquered on 310, the highest individual score by a Karnataka batsman in a Ranji final, going past Gundappa Viswanath's 247 against Uttar Pradesh in 1977-78.
For his century, Nair had made KL Rahul push for three runs. His double was an exercise in pushing Tamil Nadu out of the contest and into the abyss. For his triple, he had to push himself past the natural tiredness that comes with batting for 13 and a half hours, past the drops in concentration that inevitably occur, past the bout of nerves that bring excessive caution to the fore.
In the end, after spending 21 minutes in the 290s, and facing only 11 balls to spread-out fields, Nair decided that the way to break through was through unorthodox means. Out came the reverse sweep off a Malolan Rangarajan ball that had pitched on off, and it sped to the vacant third man region, taking Nair from 297 to 301.
The Ranji final, as a contest, is practically finished, Tamil Nadu having been bowled out for 134 on the first day itself, and even the most die-hard optimist will not be hoping for anything beyond a miraculous draw from here on.
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