India was starving for triple hundred in test matches till 2004. We have machine of producing great batsmen in our country then also we have very few triple hundreds in test cricket. Before 2004, it was VVS Laxman who held the record of highest score by an Indian. Whole generation was changed between Gavaskar’s 236* and Laxman’s 281 but there was no sign of triple hundred. Then finally in 2004 on Pakistan’s turf, Sehwag became the first Indian to score triple hundred in test cricket. Then four years later in 2008, it was Virender Sehwag again who touched the mark of 300. This time, it was on the home turf. Then after eight years in 2016, Karun Nair achieved that feat against England. All three triple centuries are special in their own way. All of them has helped India in achieving driver’s seat in the match.
Sehwag’s 309 vs Pakistan
In 2004, it was first test in Pakistan. India – Pakistan series always creates hype. Sehwag had a good test series in Australia before that. He was hoping to continue good run. It was start of the series and India was looking for a good start in the series. The team was depending on Sehwag for the good start. And he delivered in style. When he started batting no one knew that he is going to go on and score 300. He got couple of chances before he reached to his 100 but after that there was no stoppage. After his 100, he was hitting the boundaries for fun. It was Sehwag at his very best.
The feature of that innings was Sehwag’s fearlessness. Pakistan’s bowling attack always gets high ranks but Sehwag was playing around them like puppeteer plays with his puppets. Pakistan’s fast bowlers tried every type of swing against him but none of the swing was effective against Sehwag’s bat swing. Saqlain Mushtaq. He is the bowler who get respect from batsmen around the world but Sehwag played him on his own terms. We know this story. When Sehwag was on 295 Sachin told him to get to his 300 hundred in singles. Sehwag told him that if Saqlain came on to bowl, I will hit him for the six. And Saqlain came on to bowl. He hit him for a huge six and got his 300. This is what I call ‘Keh Ke Lunga’ moment. Very few players possess these kind of qualities. That triple hundred was simply Viru’s swag.
Sehwag’s 319 vs South Africa
Second triple hundred for India came four years later and it was again Virender Sehwag who achieved that feat. South Africa was on the tour of India in 2008 and in the first test only South Africa had a good time with the bat. They scored 540 runs in the first innings. India needed to put huge amount of total to stay alive in the match. And to put huge total on the board, you need a good start. Again a lot was expected from Sehwag at the top. And Sehwag’s swag flourished again. At that time, South Africa’s bowling attack consisted of Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. And there was only one answer to their pace. Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag started the innings in his trademark style. Sehwag’s attack was the best answer to the South Africa’s pace battery. South Africa had only spinner in form of Paul Harris and Sehwag was toying around him. In that innings, there was a time when Harris started bowling negative line to Sehwag. And Sehwag didn’t like that. It was coming in between his flow. He got frustrated and sledged Harris. Sehwag forced him to toss it up from other side and he had a go at him with some mighty blows. Sehwag has habit of crossing nervous 90s with 4s & 6s. He continued that habit in that innings as well and touched the milestone as quickly as he could have. Test match was drawn but it was a treat to watch Sehwag bat.
Karun Nair’s 303 vs England
Third triple hundred for India came eight years after the second triple hundred. In that span of eight years, the entire generation of players changed. By the time we got our third triple hundred, Sehwag has carried his good form from the field to the commentary box and twitter. It was Karun Nair who made third triple hundred for India. It happened in December, 2016. It was the fifth test between India and England. India had already won the series. England was 3-0 down in the series but here they were looking in a commanding position. England scored 477 in the first innings and Karun Nair came out to bat on day 3.
India needed atleast 200 run lead to make a comeback in the match. When Nair came out to bat, India was struggling. He was bit edgy in the beginning. Spinners were giving him hard time but soon he started playing sweeps and reverse sweeps to make them uncomfortable. It worked for him. With that approach not only he got runs but he got his confidence as well. Then he simply built his innings session by session. He quietly reached to his 100, 150, 200 and 250. Then the excitement began. He is a student of Rahul Dravid so he didn’t show much emotions through out his innings. In the 3rd session of day 4, he reached to his triple hundred with a boundary. Then Kohli declared the innings. It wasn’t as flamboyant as Sehwag’s triple hundreds but it was equally impactful and a match winning knock.
If we go by this trend then the next triple hundred for India is scheduled in 2032. And if we consider the factors like test cricket is dying, people want to see big hits, people want more of a t20 stuff then the fourth triple hundred for India might come in 2032 only. Who knows? Anyways all three triple hundreds made the whole country proud and gave some moments to cherish.