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Problem of plenty for Team India: Karun shines again after Test triple hundred

India Today logo India Today 24-08-2017 Ranit Das
© AFP

Before leaving for South Africa, India's second triple centurion in Test cricket, Karun Nair said he would like to make the most of the tour and prove his mettle to the national selectors again. 

And he did show some of his class before signing off from South Africa after a disappointing tour overall.

Karun slammed a 144-ball 90 to anchor a tricky chase as India A beat South Africa A by six wickets in the second unofficial Test to level the two-match series 1-1. This is the Karnataka batsman's highest score after his brilliant triple ton against England at Chennai in December last year.

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Karun made his debut Test against England in the third Test, where he scored a 4 before he was run-out. In the next match he was out after scoring 13 from 18 balls. As people questioned the selection, he replied back in fine fashion. The right-hander got another chance in the 5th Test due an injury that Ajinkya Rahane picked up and this time he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He slammed 303 off 281 balls to give India a huge first-innings total of 759/7. The bowlers then did the job for the hosts and India won the match by an innings and 75 runs and bagged the series 4-0.

However, he went down in history books as one of the unluckiest triple centurions ever. He was dropped for the following Test against Australia in Pune as Rahane recovered from his injury and walked straight back into the playing XI. But the team failed to live up to the challenge as Steve O'Keefe picked up six wickets a-piece in both the innings to hand the visitors a humongous 333-run victory and take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

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Karun made a comeback in the second Test in his home ground at Bengaluru but showed complete lack of determination and failed to play a long innings as he was out playing reckless shots in both the innings for 26 and a first-ball duck respectively. In the following Test at Ranchi as well, he repeated the same mistake and was bowled by Josh Hazlewood for 23. And things didn't get any better for him as he failed to live up to expectations in the last and final Test at Dharamsala, especially in the absence of captain Virat Kohli in the team. Karun fell cheaply for 5 and didn't get to bat in the second innings.

The 25-year-old had a decent Indian Premier League campaign in 2017, scoring 281 from 14 matches for the Delhi Daredevils but that was not enough for him to be on the plane to England for the Champions Trophy or to the West Indies. He was also replaced by Rohit Sharma in the Test squad for the Sri Lanka tour as well.

Karun instead was sent to play under Manish Pandey for India A in a 50-overs tri-series involving South Africa A and Afghanistan A and a two-match unofficial Test series, where he was elected as the captain. He scored 95 runs from four innings in the ODIs as India won the series.

In the two Test matches he scored 46 runs from the three innings before raking up a match-winning 90 in the fourth innings to cap off the tour.

This was a long due knock from the diminutive batsman and he will hope to stay fit and get a call-up for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka at home in November.

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