Himachal Pradesh's Prashant Chopra celebrated a memorable 25th birthday with a triple-century, a rare feat. In a long history of 212 triple-centuries in first-class cricket, only three have been completed by batsmen on their birthday. The first was Colin Cowdrey, who did so on his 30th birthday in 1962, and then Raman Lamba on his 35th birthday in 1995.
Chopra had a few more reasons to cherish this triple-hundred. He got close to it on the first day of the season, finishing unbeaten on 271 as Himachal piled up 459 for 2 in 90 overs. Only one batsman has scored more runs in a day in Ranji Trophy history than Chopra's 271. Bhausaheb Nimbalkar, playing for Maharashtra against Kathiawar in 1948-49, brought up 277 runs on the second day as he went from his overnight score of 24 to 301, in his famous knock of 443 not out.
|BB Nimbalkar||277 (24* to 301*)||Maharashtra||Kathiawar||Poona||1948-49|
|P Chopra||271 (0 to 271*)||Himachal Pradesh||Punjab||Dharamsala||2017-18|
|CA Pujara||261 (0 to 261*)||Saurashtra||Karnataka||Rajkot||2012-13|
Chopra was finally dismissed on Saturday for 338 off 363 balls, the tenth-highest individual score in the history of Ranji Trophy and the maiden triple-century by a Himachal Pradesh batsman. The previous highest score for Himachal Pradesh was 271 by Rajeev Nayyar against Jammu & Kashmir in 1999-00. Nayyar had set a another record in that innings which still stands: the only player to bat over 1000 minutes in a first-class innings.
|SV Manjrekar||377||Mumbai||Hyderabad||Mumbai (W)||1990-91|
|VM Merchant||359*||Mumbai||Maharashtra||Mumbai (B)||1943-44|
|SM Gugale||351*||Maharashtra||Delhi||Mumbai (W)||2016-17|
|SM Gavaskar||340||Mumbai||Bengal||Mumbai (W)||1981-82|
|P Chopra||338||Himachal Pradesh||Punjab||Dharamsala||2017-18|
Chopra also holds the third-highest individual score for Himachal, the 237 against Haryana last season. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Chopra has scored 1316 runs at an average of 73.11, which is 568 more runs than any other Himachal player. He has also hit four centuries, two of them double-hundreds, whereas all other batsmen for his team have managed only three centuries between them.
Himachal declared their innings at 729 for 8 against Punjab, their highest ever total in the Ranji Trophy and also the first 700-plus total against Punjab by any team. The top three individual scores against Punjab have all come since start of last season: Chopra (338), Priyank Panchal (314*) and Deepak Hooda (293*).
Bharath Seervi is stats sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @SeerviBharath