Brothers-in-Arms: Top 5 partnership pairs by average for India in tests
Partnerships – lifeblood for a team game. Batting partnerships win you matches and save you matches in cricket. There is something beautiful about two batsmen defying the odds, obstinate in their defiance, unmovable, no matter what the opposition throws at them.
Over the years, there have been some seriously good pairs in cricket which have forced the opposition to give in. Some do it on momentous occasions like the case of the famous Dravid-Laxman stand, first in Kolkata and then in Adelaide. Some do it match after match, like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, who hold the record for most partnership runs by a pair – 6920 at 50.51 in 143 innings with 20 century and 29 half-century partnerships.
There is only one word for that – staggering. It meant every time the two batsmen came together, there was a one in three chance that they will add at least 50 runs together. The Dravid-Sachin pair also holds the record for most partnership runs for India in wins – 3203 runs at 65.36.
Then there is the illustrious pair of Greenidge and Haynes for that matter – arguably the world’s greatest opening pair - which added 6482 runs at 47.31, just behind Sri Lanka’s Jayawardene and Sangakkara, contemporary cricket’s most prominent best friends who come a close second with 6554 runs.
This piece is about those Indian pairs which have consistently added runs commemorating the occasion of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara adding another century partnership to their already impressive tally. Only 85 pairs in the history of Test cricket have added in excess of 2000 runs. 13 of those pairs are Indian - Pujara and Vijay being the latest to join the club.
Also Read: 5 highest partnerships for India in Tests
We take a look at the top 5 Indian pairs in terms of average. (Stats courtesy: Cricinfo)
#1 Cheteshwar Pujara & Murali Vijay – 66.20
Being on top of the list where there are pairs like Dravid and Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman, and Tendulkar and Ganguly is serious business. Vijay and Pujara have achieved it with minimal fuss. The duo has added 2251 runs in just 35 innings at a stupendous average of 66.20 with 7 century and 9 half-century partnerships.
That is 16 fifty-plus partnerships in 35 matches, almost one every two innings. That is the kind of stability that they add to the batting order. In terms of all pairs across all countries, Pujara and Vijay’s partnership average is an impressive 11th. The highest average is 91.82 – between Javed Miandad and Shoaib Mohammad, who added 2112 runs in just 23 innings.
Interestingly, Vijay and Pujara could have easily jumped to 8th position (107* at the end of Day 2) by the end of Day 3 of the fourth Test between India and England, above the Hayden-Ponting pair which boasts an average of 67.11, only marginally ahead of three other pairs.
Pujara and Vijay have a highest partnership score of 370. That colossal score came in their very second innings together against Australia in Hyderabad in March 2013. Interestingly, their first partnership was a match-winning 72 in Pujara’s debut match. Impressively enough, Vijay and Pujara are third in terms of average in Test victories having scored 1223 runs at 67.94.