Top 5 first-class partnerships in cricket history

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene
Jayawardene and Sangakkara have constructed numerous mellifluous duets on the field
Ram Kumar

The Maharashtra duo of Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne joined hands to produce a whopping 594-run partnership to wear down a young Delhi side at the Wankhede Stadium and in the process carve their names in the record books.

Interestingly, all of the top five stands in the history of first-class cricket have occurred in Asia which shows the difficulty for bowling attacks to break blossoming partnerships on few of the flat and slow pitches in the subcontinent.

Let us take a trip down memory lane and revisit those mammoth collaborations in ascending order.

#5 – (576 runs) Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama for Sri Lanka against India at Colombo (RPS), 1997

Sanath Jayasuriya
Jayasuriya flayed the Indian bowlers to all parts of the ground

Though it had been five years since Muttiah Muralitharan’s debut, Sri Lanka were still not too keen on rolling out rank turners and preferred to stick to batting paradises at home with the logic being scoreboard pressure and the legendary spinner’s customary lengthy spells would combine to secure Test victories.

On one such flat surface, they lost the toss and saw the visiting Indians pile on 537 runs in the first-innings. However, Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama came together to add 576 runs for the second wicket.

With almost no chance of enforcing a result, a large crowd turned up on the final day to witness the left-hander’s quest to break Brian Lara’s record (375) for the highest individual score in Tests. Though he fell for 340, Sri Lanka had registered the highest total ever.

#4 – (577 runs) Vijay Hazare and Gul Mahomed for Baroda against Holkar at Central College Ground, 1947

Vijay Hazare
Vijay Hazare was one of the major reasons for India’s strong batting culture

Undoubtedly, Vijay Samuel Hazare was India’s first great batsman with the twin centuries against Bradman’s Australia at Adelaide stamping his legacy. Ironically, the right-hander’s peculiar bat grip and stance could be perceived as a far cry from the orthodox batting culture in the country.

Hazare’s temperament was on display during the 1946-47 Ranji Trophy final. Representing Baroda, he combined with national team-mate Gul Mohammad to defy the defending champions Holkar with a 577-run stand. The duo secured a decisive 582-run lead to seal an emphatic innings victory and the coveted title as well.

#3 – (580 runs) Rafatullah Mohmand and Aamer Sajjad for WAPDA against SSGC at Sheikhupura, 2009

Rafatullah Mohmand
Rafatullah has played three T20Is for Pakistan so far

When Pakistan called up a 39-year old Rafatullah Mohmand to debut against England in the 3-match T20I series last year, plenty of eyebrows were raised about the opening batsman’s selection whose domestic record did not inspire much confidence.

However, half a decade earlier, he was at the forefront of a monumental partnership with Aamer Sajjad for Water and Power Development Authority against Sui Southern Gas Corporation in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. In reply to SSGC’s 466, WAPDA rode on the 580-run stand between the pair to eke out a comfortable draw on a lifeless pitch at Sheikhupura.

#2 – (594 runs) Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne for Maharashtra against Delhi at Wankhede, 2016

Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne
Gugale and Bawne came within 30 runs of breaking the world record

Following a clinical innings triumph in their season opener against Assam, Delhi arrived at Wankhede eager to take on a Maharashtra side that had lost their previous match. However, what transpired on the first two days might just have sapped the life out of Unmukt Chand’s team.

Although Maharashtra lost a couple of early wickets, opener Swapnil Gugale added 594 runs alongside Ankit Bawne to lead them to a daunting total. After going past the 300-run mark, skipper Gugale decided to declare with Bawne 42 short of his own triple ton and their partnership only 30 runs behind the all-time best.

Later on, he admitted his regret upon being informed of the close proximity to the world record.

#1 – (624 runs) Kumar Sangkkara and Mahela Jayawardene for Sri Lanka against South Africa at Colombo (SSC), 2006

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene
Sangakkara and Jayawardene during their epic partnership

Sitting on top of the pile would be the seemingly never ending partnership between two of the greatest batsmen produced by Sri Lanka. Despite losing the toss, the hosts knocked over South Africa for a paltry total. Having lost two quick wickets, the pressure was back on them when Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene began work on their epic.

The classy left-hander fell just 13 runs short of a triple century even as Jayawardene cruised on without any mercy to reach 374 before Andre Nel finally got one through him. On the bowling side of things, Nicky Boje sent down 65 overs and conceded 221 runs while going wicket-less.

Despite a reasonable effort from the Proteas in the second innings, the humongous lead enabled the Lankans to complete an innings victory.

Edited by Staff Editor


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