It was a ‘heart breaking’ moment for many cricket fans as stylish opener KL Rahul was dismissed on 199; just one run short of a deserving double-ton; orchestrating India’s reply to that of England’s 477. At stumps on day-3, India made 391/4, trailing by 86 more runs, with Karun Nair (71*) and local boy Murali Vijay (17*) at crease.
It has been KL Rahul’s successful comeback among runs after the Karnataka batsman has been in and out from the team with injuries. His knock of 199 has been instrumental as India cheaply lost two big wickets in Cheteshwar Pujara (16) and captain Virat Kohli (15) in the second session. Thereafter, it was that big partnership between the Karnataka duo of Rahul & Nair, who added 161 runs for the fourth wicket, when India slightly had a hiccup at 211/3, as the Chennai crowd missed out on a ‘Virat special’.
KL Rahul entered the record books, as his score of 199 became the 2nd highest score by an Indian opening batsman in Tests against England after Sunil Gavaskar’s 221. He overtook, Budhi Kunderan’s 192, which was scored way back in 1964, coincidentally in the same stadium – MA Chidambaram, Chennai. To a pointed query, KL Rahul responded quite disarmingly by saying, “Pressure of getting 200 runs got to me, but I’ll go back home happy that I got crucial runs for team.” Rahul becomes only the second Indian batsman after former captain Mohammed Azharuddin to be dismissed for 199 in Tests.
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Things will spice up, come day-4, as India will look to add some quick runs while trying to get past England’s 477. The way Indian bowlers have bowled in the 2nd innings in this entire Test series, Virat Kohli will be thinking that a lead of 100-150 would be more than enough for India’s spinning trio of R Ashwin, R Jadeja and Amit Mishra to put immense pressure on English batsmen; the way they did in the previous test in Mumbai. R Ashwin still needs 2 more wickets to get past Dennis Lillie, to become the fastest bowler to claim 250 Test wickets. He would want to cross the milestone as the local boy here in Chennai.