In the 3rd innings of the recently concluded Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan opening partnership scored 71 runs while all other 9 wickets could gather only 62 runs. It is however not the first time that a single partnership has scored more runs than all the other partnerships could put on collectively in a single innings whether it be Dravid-Sehwag partnership vs Pakistan or Jayawardene-Sangakkara partnership vs South Africa. However, it is very much rare that a 10th wicket partnership made half or more runs of the team’s total. We decided to go digging to find out how many times the last wicket partnership contributed more runs in the entire cricket history.To our amazement, it has not happened many times. In all international matches, there has been a total of 8649 instances when last two players have come to the crease, but the number of 10th wickets stands that scored more than half was less than 1 %. Interestingly, 5 of them have come in last 12 years, and the previous all years of international cricket have got only 1 such instance.Let us take a look at these instances in the order they happened.
#1 Willey-Willis vs West Indies in 1980
Peter Willey- Bob Willis 117* England vs West Indies 24-29 July 1980 at Oval
A complete day was lost to bad weather at Oval in the 4th Test Match of the series. After winning the toss, England decided to bat first and made 370 in their first innings. West Indies were 105 runs short when they were dismissed for 265 in their first innings.
It was the 3rd innings where all drama happened. A team which scored 370 runs in the first innings were reduced to 92-9 owing to some fantastic bowling display by Holding, Garner and Croft. England were on the verge of defeat since they had a lead of 197 runs with at least 50 overs to go on the last day.
Peter Willey – the father of current English player David Willey – was joined by Bob Wallis at the crease. They both put one of the best 10th wicket partnerships in the history of Test cricket especially when the conditions were pretty much against their side.
Peter Willey scored 100* off 203 balls while Bob Willis made 24* from 114 balls. They made 117* runs for the 10th wicket and England were 209 for 9 when they declared their innings, which meant West Indies required 315 runs to win with just a few overs to go.
The match was agreed as drawn by both captains. Peter Willey was adjudged Man on the Match for his match-saving effort.