What is common to Graham Gooch and Karun Nair?    (Getty Images & IANS )
What is common to Graham Gooch and Karun Nair? (Getty Images & IANS )

In addition to scoring 303* in the fifth Test against England, Karun Nair took the catch which sealed India s victory. Michael Jones looks at other triple centurions who made further contributions to the team cause.

When Karun Nair held onto an edge from Jake Ball to seal India s victory, he became only the second player in Test history to score a triple-century and go on to perform the final act which completed a win for his team. Coincidentally, the only previous occurrence of this feat came for England against India: at Lord s in 1990, Graham Gooch piled up 333, then with India s last pair at the crease and the victory target of 472 no more than a speck on the horizon, he collected the ball at mid-on and ended the match with a direct hit on the stumps at the bowler s end to run out Sanjeev Sharma.

Triple century, and involved in the last wicket in a won match

Player

Team

Score

Last wicket

Batsman

Opposition

Match

Graham Gooch

England

333

Run out

Sanjeev Sharma

India

Lord s, 1990

Karun Nair

India

303*

Caught

Jake Ball

England

Chepauk, 2016-17

Unsurprisingly, most batsmen who make a triple-century in the first innings of a Test do not have to bat again, either because their team wins by an innings or the match is a high-scoring draw that does not reach the second innings. Of 28 players with a triple-century in the first innings, only six were required to bat again, but four of those went on to another fifty or more.

Gooch leads the way: after Kapil Dev s four consecutive sixes off Eddie Hemmings enabled India to avoid the follow-on by 1 run, Gooch went in again and scored another 123, adding 204 for the first wicket with Michael Atherton.

Bangladesh responded to Kumar Sangakkara s 319 with centuries of their own from Shamsur Rahman and Imrul Kayes, forcing Sri Lanka to bat again, when Sangakkara notched up 105 to emulate Gooch s feat of a triple and single century in the same Test; unlike India at Lord s, Bangladesh saved the match comfortably.

Mark Taylor s selfless declaration with his score equal to Don Bradman s then-Australian record failed to have the desired effect of forcing victory in the match, as Pakistan piled up 580 themselves, only 19 behind on first innings; Taylor scored another 92, narrowly missing out on the same feat.

Gooch, Taylor and Sangakkara have the three highest match aggregates in Tests, and the only ones higher than Brian Lara managed in a single innings.

At Kingston in 1930 Andy Sandham scored 325 the first triple century in Tests and England piled up 849, but in a supposedly timeless Test their captain Freddie Calthorpe felt there was no need to enforce the follow-on despite a first innings lead of 563. To give him a longer break, Calthorpe dropped Sandham down to No. 7 in the second innings, from which position he made 50. West Indies were left to chase an improbable 836 for victory, and by the end of the seventh day of the match, a double century from George Headley had steered them to 408 for 5. The match turned out not to be quite so timeless after all: the eighth and ninth days were rained off, at which point it had to be abandoned because the England players were due to take the ship home.

Triple century and another 50+ score

Player

Team

First innings

Second innings

Opposition

Match

Graham Gooch

England

333

123

India

Lord s, 1990

Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lanka

319

105

Bangladesh

Chittagong, 2013-14

Mark Taylor

Australia

334*

92

Pakistan

Peshawar, 1998-99

Andy Sandham

England

325

50

West Indies

Sabina Park, 1929-30

The only other players to bat again after a triple were Bobby Simpson, who only had 2 overs to bat after both teams had topped 600 in their first innings; and most recently Azhar Ali, who went in a second time against West Indies after Pakistan chose not to enforce the follow-on, and was LBW to Shannon Gabriel for 2. Of the two batsmen who have scored 300 in the second innings of a Test, Hanif Mohammad made only 17 in the first innings and Brendon McCullum 8.

When a captain has ten other bowlers to choose from, most have opted to give their triple-centurion a rest and call on them for no more than an over or two. Only 5 have taken wickets, and curiously, the leading all-rounder among the triple centurions, Garry Sobers, was not one of them: his 365* came in between bowling figures of 0 for 13 and 0 for 41.

Sanath Jayasuriya was the leading bowler in the club: his figures of 3 for 45, ordinary under most circumstances, were remarkable in the context of a match which saw 1,489 runs scored for the loss of only 14 wickets. The five specialist spinners in the match Muttiah Muralitharan, Jayantha Silva, Rajesh Chauhan, Anil Kumble and Nilesh Kulkarni finished with eye-watering figures of 5 for 990 between them. When Sourav Ganguly caught Jayasuriya at silly-point to end his hopes of breaking Lara s record score, it was scant consolation for Jayasuriya earlier dismissing Ganguly for a duck (Ganguly was one of only two specialist batsmen to fail to reach 50 in the match: the other was Marvan Atapattu, who was dismissed for 26 by Kulkarni s first ball in Test cricket).

Michael Clarke only took one wicket to go with his 329*, but it happened to be that of Sachin Tendulkar, which pushed Australia closer to an innings victory.

Triple century and at least one wicket

Player

Team

Score

Bowling

Opposition

Match

Sanath Jayasuriya

Sri Lanka

340

3/45

India

Premadasa, 1997

Virender Sehwag

India

319

1/37, 1/55

South Africa

Chepauk, 2007-08

Graham Gooch

England

333

1/26

India

Lord’s, 1990

Chris Gayle

West Indies

317

1/65, 0/3

South Africa

St John’s, 2005

Michael Clarke

Australia

329*

1/22

India

SCG, 2011-12

Since close fielders are most often specialist batsmen or all-rounders, catches are rather more common than wickets in the triple-century club, with almost half its members taking at least one. Matthew Hayden is the only triple-centurion to take 3 catches in the match; Nair stands with Gooch and Clarke on 2. Gooch, Jayasuriya, Gayle and Clarke all recorded a triple-century, at least 1 wicket and at least 1 catch.

Triple century and at least one catch

Player

Team

Score

Catches

Opposition

Match

Matthew Hayden

Australia

380

3

Zimbabwe

WACA, 2003-04

Graham Gooch

England

333

2

India

Lord’s, 1990

Michael Clarke

Australia

329*

2

India

SCG, 2011-12

Karun Nair

India

303*

2

England

Chepauk, 2016-17

Andy Sandham

England

325

1

West Indies

Sabina Park, 1929-30

Garry Sobers

West Indies

365*

1

Pakistan

Sabina Park, 1957-58

Bob Simpson

Australia

311

1

England

Old Trafford, 1964

Sanath Jayasuriya

Sri Lanka

340

1

India

Premadasa, 1997

Mark Taylor

Australia

334*

1

Pakistan

Peshawar, 1998-99

Virender Sehwag

India

309

1

Pakistan

Multan, 2003-04

Brian Lara

West Indies

400*

1

England

St John s, 2003-04

Mahela Jayawardene

Sri Lanka

374

1

South Africa

SSC, 2006

Azhar Ali

Pakistan

302*

1

West Indies

Dubai, 2016-17

Since no one has ever scored a Test 300 in a match in which he was the nominated wicketkeeper, no one has ever made a 300 and a stumping in the same match either; the highest score by a player also making a stumping is 230 by Kumar Sangakkara against Pakistan in the final of the Asian Test Championship in 2002, when he also took 5 catches and left Shahid Afridi stranded after he ventured down the pitch to Murali.

MS Dhoni and Adam Gilchrist are the only other players with a double-century and a stumping in the same Test. Sangakkara and McCullum are the only players with a triple-century and at least one stumping (20 and 11 respectively) in their Test careers.