Taruwar Kohli scores season's fifth triple ton
Jharkhand 33 for 0 and 401 (Jaggi 132, Nemat 100, Kaul 4-78, Ladda 4-118) drew with Punjab 699 for 3 dec (Kohli 300*, Jiwanjot 131, Kaul 113*)
Taruwar Kohli converted his century into an unbeaten triple-century to light up an otherwise insignificant day of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final between Punjab and Jharkhand at the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur.
With Punjab having overhauled Jharkhand's first-innings total of 401 to secure a semi-final face-off against Saurashtra, the last day's play was a formality. But Kohli, playing his first game of the season, ensured that the day would be fruitful.
He resumed his innings on 151 at the start of the day's play, and made the tired Jharkhand bowlers toil for two sessions of two and a half hours each before Punjab declared at 699 for 3 on the stroke of tea. With Jharkhand opting to bowl only two of their four specialist bowlers, Kohli and Uday Kaul had the ideal opportunity to increase their averages. And they did it to perfection by taking a toll on part-timers.
The only mistake of Kohli's innings came when he was on 205. He uppishly drove Ishank Jaggi, who was bowling medium pace with the third new ball, but the captain Shahbaz Nadeem dropped a straightforward catch. It was the second over after lunch and Kohli made sure he made utmost use of the reprieve.
With a ball remaining before tea, Kohli was batting on 296, and he drove offspinner Manish Vardhan through midwicket for his 34th boundary to burst into celebration amid applause from his team-mates. Kaul remained unbeaten on 113, after having scored his third century of the season.
Punjab captain Harbhajan Singh was all praise for Kohli as he said, "At this level, it's a great thing to see he took the responsibility and made sure that till the time he was there, he did not play any loose shot and took the team through."
Kohli's 300 not out was the third triple-century scored by a Punjab batsman, after Dinesh Mongia's unbeaten 308 against Jammu and Kashmir in 2000-01 and Pankaj Dharmani's 305 not out against the same opposition in 1999-2000. This was the second triple scored at this venue, after VVS Laxman's unbeaten 301 for Hyderabad against Bihar in 1997-98.
Kohli's triple was the fifth of the season. Kedar Jadhav scored 327 for Maharashtra against Uttar Pradesh; Saurashtra's Ravindra Jadeja scored 331 against Railways in Rajkot and an unbeaten 303 against Gujarat in Surat; and Jadeja's team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara registered the fourth triple-ton of the season during their quarter-final against Karnataka, hours before Kohli joined the 300-club.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo