Mumbai, Mar 11: Having already retained the title by virtue of their huge first innings lead, defending champions Karnataka are now looking to post an outright win over Tamil Nadu after reducing them to 113 for three in their second essay on day four of Ranji Trophy final here today.
Karnataka posted a massive total of 762 in their first innings after bundling out Tamil Nadu for a paltry 134. At stumps on the penultimate day, Tamil Nadu were struggling in their second innings, still trailing the title holders by a huge 515 runs with seven wickets remaining.
Now even if the match ends in a draw, which is one of the only two possible outcomes, Karnataka would retained the Ranji Trophy title at the Wankhede stadium here.
Resuming at an overnight score of 618 for seven today, Karnataka added 144 more runs to their total. Batting since post-tea on the opening day, Karnataka piled on runs as their innings lasted 1044 minutes.
The defending champions lost their triple centurion Karun Nair (328) in the first session today but skipper R Vinay Kumar (105) slammed his second Ranji century to guide the team to a mammoth 762. Vinay Kumar, who resumed on 41, batted patiently during his 319-ball innings and struck 10 fours and three sixes.
Incidentally, he became the first captain to score a ton in a Ranji final, besides becoming only the second player after Vijay Hazare to hit a century and take five wickets in a Ranji Trophy final. Nair, who had been batting since the first day, although made a brilliant 328, couldn't surpass his teammate KL Rahul's 337 to be the highest run-scorer for Karnataka.
Nair's marathon 14-and-a-half hour knock came to an end 57 minutes into the day when he was trapped leg before by Vijay Shankar. The 23-year-old added 18 runs to his overnight score and became the highest scorer in a Ranji final, going past Baroda batsman Gul Mohammad's 319 against Holkar in 1946-47.
His record came in the second ball off the fifth over when he flicked Laxmipathy Balaji's delivery behind square. The triple centurion's 872-minute stay at the crease yielded 46 fours and a six while sharing a 142-run partnership with Vinay Kumar for the eighth wicket.
He became the third player to score a triple ton in a Ranji match at the Wankhede after Sanjay Manjrekar's 377 against Hyderabad in 1990-91 and Sunil Gavaskar's 340 against Bengal in 1981-82.