Karun's historic triple punctures TN
Karnataka 618 for 7 (Karun 310*, Rahul 188) lead Tamil Nadu 134 by 484 runs
At the end of the second day's play, Karnataka were sitting comfortably with a lead of 189 runs. Karun Nair had said after the second day that Karnataka would want to bat the whole of the third day to put the remotest possibility of a Tamil Nadu comeback to rest.
The young batsman walked the talk. Not only did he remain unbeaten and help his team amass a lead of 484 runs, he also notched up his maiden triple century: the second-ever by a player representing Karnataka after KL Rahul. As he converted a long innings into a marathon knock, records were regularly erased.
The most important landmark of the day was raised with a reverse-sweep off Malolan Rangarajan 18 minutes before the close of play that made Karun only the second player, and the first in independent India, to score a triple century in a Ranji Trophy final. He was unbeaten at the end of the day's play, ten runs short of erasing Gul Mohammed's record of 319 runs, incidentally registered on the same day in 1947.
Karun and Rahul, the two overnight centurions, began the day on the cusp of individually overtaking Tamil Nadu's first innings total. While Rahul was three runs behind TN's 134, Karun required four runs. Once both the openers saw off the first half an hour, they were set for a record-breaking spree.
Rahul continued to hobble while running between the wickets, due to his left hamstring which he had strained on the opening day, but that didn't deter him from continuing his march towards a double. While Rahul had raised his hundred and 150 before Karun, the latter accelerated the scoring to raise his double-century with a flick off Rangarajan square off the wicket for a single three balls before lunch.
Soon after lunch, Rahul's tired lofted drive off the offspinner landed straight into Vijay Shankar's palms at long-on. That ended a gargantuan 386-run stand - the best for the sixth wicket in a Ranji final but 31 runs short of the all-time record for the sixth wicket [417 by Wriddhiman Saha and Laxmi Shukla for Bengal against Assam in Kolkata in 2010-11].
Tamil Nadu's misery compounded as left-arm pacer Prasanth Parameswaran limped off the field after hurting his leg while trying to stop a drive on the boundary line. Shreyas Gopal, who replaced Rahul at the wicket, couldn't make use of the batting-friendly conditions, gliding Aswin Crist behind the wicket down the leg side.
Vinay Kumar, the Karnataka captain, then provided Karun with support to shatter records. Karun went past GR Viswanath's 247 against Uttar Pradesh in 1977-78 with a pull off Vijay Shankar to register the highest score by a Karnataka batsman in a Ranji final.
Then, as he marched towards the triple century, Tamil Nadu's part-timers were more tired than Karun. With a plethora of records in sight and the fate of the match all but sealed, Karun said he would look to extend the Karnataka innings as long as possible. If he lives up to his word again, the penultimate day of the final may turn out be an even bigger delight for the statisticians.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo